FRESH produce at cheaper prices? This was enough to get a crowd to throng a food fest and agricultural exposition in Kuantan recently.
There were over 50 stalls pitching a variety of ware such as foodstuff, vegetables, fruits, handicraft items, toys, clothing and plants in addition to exhibition booths and telecommunications gadgets and accessories.
The scores of visitors were pleased because the food items, especially, were cheaper and fresher, having been brought in directly by the state Federal Agricultural and Marketing Authority (Fama) for the event.
Fama organised the event at the site of the weekly pasir tani near Stadium Darul Makmur jointly with the state Tourism Action Council in conjunction with the month-long state level Merdeka Day celebrations.
Deputy Mentri Besar Datuk Tan Aminuddin Ishak was the guest of honour. Also present were state Fama director Manon Jali, Tioman Development Authority general manager Datuk Hashim Mat Tahir and state commercial crimes chief Supt Zaini Jass.
As they checked out the stalls, the men stopped at a dodol stand to help stir the mixture as it cooked in a huge kuali.
While the dodol maker offered free dodol to those who helped stir the sticky mixture, others sent out their assistants to offer visitors samples to taste and brochures of their products.
It was hot and humid, but the visitors were spoilt for choice, taking their time to choose and bargain.
It was a colourful event with some vendors dressing in colourful attire to catch the attention of potential buyers. Several vehicles were decorated with flags and painted with the pictures of former and present national leaders.
Later, Tan Aminuddin said the exposition was a good platform to promote the products of Pahang and other states.
He said the majority of the traders were locals but there were also those from Negri Sembilan, Kelantan and Penang.
“We are mulling over a proposal to make such events more prominent and frequent,” he said, adding that many local products had the potential for commercialisation.
Tan Aminuddin said that local entrepreneurs should widen their knowledge and learn from other successful ventures.
“We cannot afford to sell fruits like in the olden days when we lumped everything by the roadside.
“Packaging and marketing is essential in today’s business, as without these elements, we will not go far,” he said.
On a separate matter, he said the state had set aside RM5mil to rehabilitate idle land statewide.
He said the relevant authorities had been told to identify the plots and come up with proposals for approval.