KUALA LUMPUR: The trademarked Harumanis from Perlis, a popular seasonal mango reputed for its “double chin” and sweet flesh, has been introduced to Sabahans by airasia farm.
The Harumanis season, from April to June, hit the sky with half a tonne of the mangoes being shipped to the Land Below the Wind on an AirAsia flight yesterday morning from klia2 to Kota Kinabalu.
AirAsia’s e-commerce platform, airasia farm, is now an official distributor of Harumanis through its cooperation with the Agriculture and Food Industries Ministry.
Its minister Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee said the ministry was expecting the Harumanis harvest this year to reach 3,336 tonnes, estimated to value at RM66.7mil.
“We anticipate about 50% will be sold online through the e-commerce platforms such as airasia food, airasia fresh and agrobazaar online.
“Therefore, the ministry’s cooperation with airasia farm will not only broaden the distribution of Harumanis to the whole of Malaysia but also take these exclusive mangoes to Sabah for the first time on such a large scale, ” he said.
He added that this would increase the income of more than 2,400 farmers in Perlis and leave a significant impact on the economy as well as agro-tourism and supply chain industries nationwide.
AirAsia Group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said the company, which cut its teeth in the agribusiness industry amid the challenging aviation year in 2020, aimed to boost farmers’ earning power.
An e-commerce platform, airasia farm was launched in June last year under its previous name OURFARM to enable farmers to connect directly to online business, he said.
“The whole idea of airasia farm came from Sabah when I travelled to Kudat, Tawau and Sandakan where I met farmers and saw how they lost a lot of margin to suppliers due to logistics.
“That’s the birth of airasia farm. Since June last year until now, we have recorded about RM3mil sales.
“We are working with over 2,000 farmers in Malaysia supplying 300 businesses throughout Malaysia with various products from fruits and vegetables to eggs and anchovies.
“We have an entire ecosystem to promote Harumanis mangoes including our planes, digital assets and physical restaurants, ” said Fernandes in a press conference at klia2 yesterday.
He said it took less than 72 hours upon harvest to send out the first shipment of the mangoes from Perlis to Sabah.
He said with the incredible technology of Malaysian inventions such as the StixFresh fruit sticker, the shelf life and freshness of the mangoes could be prolonged to six months.
“Our strength is cross-border and when we can fly, which is months away, we can start selling Harumanis all over the Asean region, ” said Fernandes.
Other fruits that airasia farm would potentially include in the future were pineapples, bananas, pomelos and dragon fruits.
Earlier, Ronald and Fernandes sent off the AirAsia flight along with AirAsia Group executive chairman Datuk Kamarudin Meranun.
The event was part of the ‘Harumanis Kembali Lagi’ campaign led by the ministry in collaboration with the Agriculture Department and Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority of Perlis to promote the Harumanis mangoes.
The signature mangoes are now available for online order on airasia fresh and airasia food in the peninsula as well as on foodpanda in Sabah.
In 2011, the Perlis government registered “Harumanis Perlis” with the Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO) to protect its local growers.
The geographical indication “Harumanis Perlis” meant that such mangoes were grown and harvested in Perlis with specific guidelines issued by the authority.
While the law does not prohibit Harumanis from being grown in other states, they are not allowed to market the products under the name “Harumanis Perlis” as this was reserved for Perlis-grown Harumanis mangoes.