AGROBANK’s small and medium-size enterprise (SME) clients have adapted to the new normal by going online as well as trading via e-commerce platforms to ensure their business sustainability.

During the Umbi Agro dialogue on Facebook Live held in conjunction with Agrobank’s SME Month, two of the bank’s women agropreneurs, Mazlina Kamaruddin and Musleha Zainuddin, shared their views on the topic “Post MCO Agropreneurs: Adaptation and Recovery” and related how they shifted gears during the new normal.

Mazlina is Bismi Cergas Sdn Bhd managing director while Musleha is managing director of MHP Enterprise Sdn Bhd.

The session was moderated by Agrobank Corporate Strategic Planning Department head Lokman Affandy Yahaya.

The women spoke about the importance of SMEs going on e-commerce platforms

to conduct business transactions, especially during a local or global crisis such as

the Covid-19 pandemic which saw the government implementing the movement control order (MCO).

While the MCO period saw SME entrepreneurs struggling to operate under restrictions, Mazlina, who runs the Ayam Bismi Halal Suci chicken production and processing business, said the MCO period turned out to be a blessing in disguise for her as she took her venture online.

“Initially, I could not imagine what was going to happen (to my business) when

the MCO was announced, as during that time we had about one million chickens at our farms.

“I was relieved when chicken production and processing was categorised as essential services that were allowed to operate during the MCO.

“We quickly searched for alternatives. That was when we launched where consumers could buy and collect the birds from our factories or have them delivered to their homes,” she said.

Musleha, a traditional food and snack producer under the brand name Masri, said she was able to do business from home, as it involved women from around her headquarters in Sekinchan.

The MCO forced her to explore selling her products online and, at the same time, offer other essential items which were in demand.

“During the early stage of the MCO, we operated as usual from home and delivered our food products to customers.

“But we had to switch to the e-commerce platform because of its reach. We learnt quickly to diversify our product options and that was also the time when Agrobank stepped in by providing coaching on e-commerce and online businesses, copywriting and online marketing skills.”

She acknowledged that it was time for SME entrepreneurs to take the next step forward by exploring e-commerce platforms and improving their knowledge about doing business online.

The full session can be viewed on the bank’s YouTube channel Agrobank TV.