Kg Lumapas MPK eyes chilli processing plant
THE Kg Lumapas Village Consultative Council (MPK) is looking to develop a chilli processing plant as part of its participation in the One Village One Product (OVOP) programme.
The council’s advisor Dato Paduka Hj Jemat Hj Ampal said that besides selling fresh chillis which are grown at the village, the council is also looking to process them into purees and market them in the country.
Kg Lumapas owns a 100-hectare chilli farm which was developed by the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood (DAA) to help the villagers boost its economy.
“The next step after developing the chili farm is to apply for assistance to construct a plant and then find chilli processing machines,” said Dato Paduka Hj Jemat in an interview.
He added that the village hopes to market more locally produced chillis in Brunei as the country is a huge importer of chili products.
“Brunei imports over 200,000 kg of chili products. We plan to produce 200kg per day as a target,” he said.
The council plans to distribute the processed chilis in supermarkets and restaurants nationwide. Currently the fresh chillis are sold by the villagers at a vegetable stall located near the chili farm.
“In Bandar Seri Begawan, there are over 300 restaurants, so if one restaurant uses 1kg of chili per day, we would need to provide 300kg per day,” said the advisor.
“We also target shopping complexes and supermarkets. The processed chilli puree would allow us to preserve our stock better,” he added.
He said that there are currently no pricing plans on the processed chillis, though the council would ensure a competitive pricing in the long term depending on its success in the market.
According to Dato Paduka Hj Jemat, the village’s chillis differ from the chillis sold in supermarkets in terms of freshness, taste and texture.
He added that the chillis grown from the village have no additives and preservatives.
“Based on my experience as I also have a restaurant, when I use the village’s chilli, the taste is quite different. It is more fresh and the colour is more red. But most importantly, it is hotter compared to the ones sold in supermarkets,” he said.
In addition, Dato Paduka Hj Jemat said, the chillis grown from the village could last up to three months when stored in the refrigerator.
“This makes it convenient to be used for cooking especially for those who do not have the time to cut the chilis and it is also tastier and easier to be made into a sambal,” he added.
The village had a rough start with its chilli farm project since early 2013, with around 3,000 chilli seedlings destroyed by rain in 18 months.
“We learnt to provide better nurseries for the seedlings including having roofs above the plants and also cover the plants with plastic so the light could easily hit them directly,” said Dato Paduka Hj Jemat.
Other challenges, such as inadequate water supply, have already been addressed.
“Alhamdulillah, now we have felt the fruits of our labour and it is our wish that the participating villagers at the farm would reap the profits gained from the sale,” he said.
Dato Paduka Hj Jemat revealed that last month, some of the participants raked in around $700 in revenue.
The chillis are sold for $5 per kg.
The Brunei Times