KUALA LUMPUR: Rural entrepreneurs have seen an increase in sales and boost in confidence to conduct business online thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, said Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad.
The Rural Development Minister told the Dewan Rakyat that there was a silver lining behind the pandemic as many entrepreneurs from the rural areas have chosen to sell their products online which has been an effective platform to boost sales by reaching more customers.
"To be honest, thanks to Covid-19 (pandemic), entrepreneurs' confidence and customers from the rural and also urban areas, had improved by at least 39% compared to last year.
"For instance, on Nov 11 (11.11), 2020, we had a sale and garnered RM42,000 in a day.
"All the products were products made by our communities in the rural areas," he said in reply to a supplementary question from Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim (BN-Arau) during Question Time on Thursday (Nov 19).
Shahidan had asked about the ministry's move, via its Desa Mall programme, on helping rural entrepreneurs to promote their products online after they were affected by the Covid-19.
Latiff said his ministry had discussed with the Communications and Multimedia Ministry, where a total of 191 desa community centres that can serve as an offline area for the Desa Mall programme.
"With such cooperation with the Communications and Multimedia Ministry and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), I am confident that Internet penetration will make it easier for products, marketing and sales to be improved by rural entrepreneurs," he said.
To the initial question, Latiff said that the ministry had introduced the rural entrepreneur platform Desa Mall to help rural entrepreneurs sell their products online.
"The ministry had implemented various initiatives and strategies via the Desa Mall programme to assist entrepreneurs in the rural areas to market their products via online platforms such as Lazada, Shopee, eBay, among others," he added, to ensure that their products can be accessed by customers from across the country.
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