‘Village products yet to gain trust of consumers’

National 2 minutes, 10 seconds

BELAIT

LACKLUSTRE packaging and insufficient accreditation are preventing the One Village, One Product Programme (OVOP) from achieving its full potential, according to the programme director of LiveWIRE Brunei.

Pg Redzuan Pg Hj Abbas said OVOP products have yet to penetrate the Brunei market because of a lack of proper marketing and certification, especially the halal label, which has yet to be obtained by many.

“All of the OVOP products in their raw, unprocessed form have great potential, but village consultative councils (MPK) need to realise that just because it is Brunei-made, doesn’t mean the product doesn't have to abide by basic food security regulations,” he said on the sidelines of a meeting with Belait grassroots leaders yesterday.

Pg Redzuan pointed out that products needed to respect customers’ concerns through proper labelling of ingredients, expiry dates and providing halal certification.

Village Head of Kg Mumong Yang Berhormat Hj Mohd Yusof Dulamin who attended the meeting echoed these criticisms, saying that OVOP products had yet to gain the trust of consumers.

“The ideas or raw products of OVOP definitely have appeal, but the products have yet to be mass consumed by society because we lack the proper certification and marketing needed to push these products,” he said.

Pg Redzuan stressed that many OVOP products have yet to move beyond basic packaging, making it difficult to dislodge the public's preference for imported products.

“People underestimate the importance of packaging and presentation when it comes to retail products. Imported products, even small ones have well-informed, attractive looking labels and packaging,” he said.

“Take catfish for example, which most here would not even consider eating, is being sold in the United States for very good money, provided it is packaged, produced into a high quality product.”

Touching on concerns raised regarding the lengthy period required to secure halal certification, Pg Redzuan said a one-stop centre or agency for applications would streamline and speed up accreditation.

“A one-stop agency would streamline the application and licensing process, but at the same time we have to take the halal certification very seriously,” he said.

He gave examples of previous cases where certain imported products, which clearly listed non-halal ingredients, were found sporting the halal logo.

“The halal accreditation may take time, but it is necessary to show that the products truly respect and conform to the label, which in the long run will earn the consumer's trust.”

Attending yesterday's discussion at the Oil and Gas Discovery Centre were MPKs of Kuala Belait, Seria Town, Mumong and Sg Teraban.

LiveWIRE Brunei was launched in 2001 to increase knowledge and training in entrepreneurship.

The Brunei Times