Village products need more exposure: Study

National 2 minutes, 22 seconds

BELAIT

MORE than half of the Bruneians polled in a recent survey were unaware of village products rolled out under the One Village, One Product (OVOP) programme.

A group of six Business Finance students from Politeknik Brunei who undertook the survey last year as part of their final year project for their Advanced Diploma surveyed 98 members of the public both online and in person about their receptiveness to OVOP, with 54 per cent responding that they didn’t know about the programme.

The OVOP studied by the students - Kg Lorong 3 in Seria’s acar (pickles) and sesagun (rice flour with coconut and sugar) - was only known to 13 per cent.

The group’s leader, Nur Munirah Hj Abd Kadiroshman, said an analysis of the survey’s results have been channeled into a list of six suggestions to address gaps in the products’ exposure, with an Instagram account identified as the most cost-effective promotional strategy recommended.

“Seventy-four per cent of respondents said they would like to see the products through Instagram, which was picked over Facebook as the social media application right now that most would use to check out the latest Bruneian products,” said Nur Munirah at the presentation of their project at the Seria District Office building yesterday.

Compared to traditional print media, promotional posts on Instagram carry “no risk” because they incur no financial cost.

The group also recommended that the village consultative councils (MPKs) developing the products should join expos more frequently and retail out of popular tamus or stalls and at cube rental stores.

MPK Lorong 3’s secretary, Hassan Masri, who attended the presentation, admitted that his village’s OVOP needed to migrate more quickly to online promotion but pointed out that their products are also beset by negative perceptions amongst the community members themselves.

“Ironically, when we join roadshows in Bandar, our sesagun sells like hot cakes. But back here (Belait) when we sell from a store belonging to one of our MPK members, it doesn’t do so well,” said Hassan.

Hassan speculated that village products have limited appeal amongst the immediate community but sell better in different districts because the distance creates a novelty factor.

“Selling in Bandar is an issue at the moment because of transportation and the lack of a permanent site, but renting a cube or a small space at a store is a good proposed option we will consider.”

The Penghulu of Seria, Hj Jamail Hj Linap, noted that another problem was that the manufacturing of village products has been largely left to the seniors from the MPK, with youth from the district reluctant or even disinterested to participate.

“The products are saleable. But at this point in time, we’re not in the position to hire full-time staff to do the manufacturing, so most of the seniors help out part-time.”

The Brunei Times