Farmers go online during lockdown - 8th June 2020

Farmers in South East Asia are going online to solve a new problem. People are finding buying food during lockdown a challenge.

The coronavirus pandemic has closed all markets in Malaysia, where farmers normally sell their produce. As a result, farmers in Cameron Highlands had to dump tonnes of crops.

Fortunately, technology has provided an answer. E-commerce websites have stepped in to assist farmers. They’re now selling to customers online for the first time.

Lazada, an online shop, built a new section of their website just to help farmers. The people growing the food are now directly connected to the people who eat it and the website has been a great success. Due to the high response, with farmers selling 1.4 tonnes of vegetables each day, Lazada then added a seafood shop to support fishermen.

It’s a similar story in Indonesia, where farming cooperative Rumah Sayur Group turned to the internet to help farmers facing similar issues. The group usually sells to restaurants and supermarkets but lost most of their regular market when lockdown began. This new way of connecting to customers has saved their business and means farmers don't have to throw away their produce.

The pandemic has temporarily transformed the very traditional South East Asian farming industry. The question remains whether shopping habits have changed for good. When lockdown is over, will shoppers return to the markets?

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Hard News  • Business & Money
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