MALACCA: The Agro Bazaar at the Ayer Keroh Overhead Bridge Restaurant is fast emerging as a popular attraction for motorists heading south on the North-South Expressway.
The bazaar has been operating there since 1999 and over the years it has been drawing the crowds through a myriad of local delicacies and agricultural products, including its signature beverage KopieSatu.
The Agro Bazaar, wholly owned by Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (Fama), operates throughout the year and also draws foreign visitors, especially Singaporeans.
Not less than 34 small and medium scale enterprise (SMEs) products are being marketed at the bazaar like fish and banana crackers, shrimp paste, dodol in various flavours and other sizzling delights.
Fama’s agricultural products are also being offered at the bazaar under the Ole Mas brand name. Actually travellers can do their marketing on their way.
Presently, 23 SMEs with 17 from Malacca and two each from Negri Sembilan, Selangor and Johor, are supplying the products to the Agro Bazaar.
According to Malacca Fama director Che Ghani Che Wan, the Agro Bazaar serves as a promotional and marketing outlet for Fama.
He said Fama targetted sales at the Agro Bazaar to surpass RM2mil by the year end compared to RM1.6mil last year, looking at the ever-increasing number of motorists who stop over at the restaurant.
“Moreover, this year is Visit Malaysia Year and Fama is confident that with the promotional efforts being undertaken by the state government, more tourists especially Singaporeans, will use the highway and break their journey in Malacca,” he said.
It is estimated that about 700 people visit the bazaar daily and the figure is easily more than 1,000 during weekends, public holidays and school holidays.
Taking note of the feedback from the public and SMEs, Fama plans to add another agro bazaar at the same overhead bridge restaurant but this time to cater for north-bound traffic.
Meanwhile, the Agro Bazaar Supervisor Nasir Kassim said that all the products at the bazaar are fresh and of high quality and this is why many return to buy more.
They are attractively packaged and sold at flexible prices. The selling point is appealing products that are attractively presented and friendly staff.
“Nine staff run the show here. They undergo training from time to time on managing the bazaar,” he said.
To increase and diversify the offerings, Fama’s counterparts in Sabah and Sarawak will supply products that are unique to both states to be sold at the bazaar.
“We will try to market SME products that are unique to Sabah and Sarawak like kuih cincin, kuih lidah, crispy banana crackers, tabaloi, ikan terubok masin and others,” he said.
Nasir also highlighted Fama’s beverage “KopieSatu” that seems to be a favourite indulgence of weary highway travellers. The aromatic coffee is made of freshly-ground local coffee beans and is offered as Cappucino, Mocha Cappucino, Caramel Cappucino, Espresso, Kopie O Kaw and KopieSatu Honey.
The “KopieSatu” beverage was introduced in 2005 and recorded sales of RM134,000 for that year and RM177,000 the following year.
The feedback from European and Japanese tourists is that the coffee is good enough to satisfy even the hardest palate, explained Nasir, adding that “KopieSatu” is produced by Fama’s factory in Banting, Selangor.
So if you do happen to pass by Air Keroh on the North-South Expressway, just drop by at Agro Bazaar and see for yourself what is being offered. – Bernama
Source: The Star