Village Awards winners to build banana chips factory

National 2 minutes, 25 seconds


WINNERS of the recent Excellent Village Awards (AKC), Kg Kapok, are planning to use their earnings to set up a banana chip factory.

Kg Kapok village chief Hj Marali Hj Ahmad told The Brunei Times they were looking to mass produce their ‘One Village, One Product’ winner, the colourful flavoured banana chips.

He said the village consultative council will use the $40,000 development grant and the $15,000 cash prize to build the factory.

“So far, we are still waiting for an answer from the relevant authorities for a specific piece of land in Kg Kapok” as location for the plant, he said.

Hj Marali said they plan not to participate for the next two years “to give opportunity to other contestants to put more efforts and win the next AKC”.

This gives the MPK of Kg Kapok time to work towards better administration and management, Hj Marali said.

The Excellent Village Award (AKC) programme is a platform not only for the villagers to generate their own income but also to move closer towards peace and unity amongst them, said representatives of the champion villages yesterday.

Hj Marali said the initiatives taken through the programme enabled his village to provide unemployed youth with job opportunities.

“With the OVOP initiative, these youth would have something to do rather than wasting their time with negative activities and being anti-social,” he said.

“And having the opportunity to earn for themselves would also teach them to be more mature; to learn how to face and solve their own problems, especially financial ones in a better way,” he added.

Hj Marali said senior citizens were also sharing the benefits of the initiatives and efforts undertaken by the village consultative council (MPK) through the village awards.

The making of banana chips has become a reason for senior citizens to gather in Hj Marali’s house.

“And they would usually bring their grandchildren together and when their grandparents were busy, we will gather them at my library here (in his house) and another person will be assigned to watch over them,” he added.

It becomes an opportunity to instill in them the reading culture, he said.

“Even if they do not read, we will provide them with colouring activities,” he said, adding that developing the creativity among children was also one of his objectives.

Meanwhile, Muhammad Amir Hj Umarali from MPK Kiudang’s information bureau said his village is now looking to venture in tourism services.

Their previous project, the 3MPK Herbal Tea, will be included as part of the tourism services.

The $30,000 development grant as well as the $10,000 cash prize, he said, would be used to fund the projects.

Awarded bronze in the recent AKC, Kg Kiudang was also given two years of rest from the competition.

“Perhaps next time with all of our efforts for development now, we might not just win bronze, but silver,” said Muhammad Amir.

The Brunei Times