MCO — farmers, food traders turn to FB, Twitter to sell products


SOCIAL media sites have become the major advertising medium for traders and farmers to look for buyers as they have to close their shops following the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) nationwide since March 18.

A farmer in Kampung Ubai, Pekan, Ain Izuddin Mohd Ghazali, 25, said his personal Twitter account is now a virtual shop for him to market his watermelon after his shop on the main street of Kuantan was told to close by the authority last Wednesday.

“I was not upset with the order. This situation is life-threatening, so I do understand. I was a little sad at first because I thought all my efforts will be in vain as those harvested melons could only last for 10 days.

“Then, I tried to sell it on Twitter and I still could not believe many people were helping me by retweeting my content. Today, I received so many orders for the watermelons,” he told Bernama in Kuanatan yesterday.

He said he still has about three tonnes of fruit waiting to be harvested and this is his second-harvest since he started his farm a year ago after working to gain knowledge for three years in other people’s farms.

Ain Izuddin, who uses the handle @PaakDiin, said there were also requests from other states including Selangor, Terengganu, Johor and Melaka, but he admitted it over a tweet that he would not be able to send the fruit due to transportation issue.

Unexpectedly, the tweet turned into a blessing as it attracted the attention of an agricultural agency, which then send a representative to his farm and offered help to get a lorry for him to deliver his fruit to places outside Pekan and Kuantan.

“I never expected that a tweet could be this helpful. So, I extended the assistance to a few other watermelon farmers here who are in the same boat as I am. We expect the harvested produce in the next two to three weeks to reach 10 tonnes,” he said.

Meanwhile, a satay seller from Felda Mempaga Bentong, Mohd Shezri Ashraf Sharuddin, 27, lamented that this is the first time that his family could not carry out their satay business at the night market ever since his father started it 30 years ago.

“We had to look for alternatives as we could not afford to incur significant losses from the perishable ingredients that we already bought before the government announced the MCO, which included the closure of night markets.

“My younger sibling tried to advertise on Twitter and Facebook (FB). Praise be to Allah, the response is very good and for today we received orders amounting 2,000 satay skewers. This amount is quite good although not as much as before,” he said.

Mohd Shezri Ashraf said as a precautionary measure, they will provide free satay delivery directly to the customer’s house without setting a meeting point so as to avoid customers from gathering and to encourage them to make an online payment.

Despite the extra tasks and higher cost of delivery, he believed that it was better than taking risks which could lead to spreading the Covid-19 virus.

“We planned our travel route and work schedule carefully, so that we do not have to repeat going to the same place more than once. We also need to ensure all orders reach the customers before 6pm because under the MCO, all businesses must close by 7pm,” he said.

For the time being, Mohd Shezri Ashraf said his family has decided to continue using social media sites until the night markets are allowed to operate as usual.