KOTA KINABALU: From food products to clothing, the Karnival Usahawan Desa which is being held at the Kota Kinabalu sports complex in Likas has something for everybody.
With 350 vendors, mostly offering local Sabahan made products, the carnival started on Aug 22 and ends today (Aug 25).
The carnival showcases products by entrepreneurs from Sabah’s rural areas and is organised by the federal Rural Development Ministry.
Its minister Datuk Seri Rina Mohd Harun told reporters that 70 per cent of the vendors participating in the event which is being held for the first time in Sabah are women.
One of them is Mawar Salleh from Kunak who produces seaweed, ikan bilis, vegetable and udang bubuk flavoured dry noodles.
With customers from as far as Brunei Darussalam, Peninsular Malaysia and Indonesia, Mawar’s noodles was produced after much trial and error.
Mawar said the idea to produce the noodles came from the late Datuk Tawfiq Titingan.
“He spoke at a program and asked the participants why not use the bountiful seafood in Sabah’s east Coast and produce it into something different. I have the skill to process noodles so I decided to use that and the seafood in Kunak. It was trial and error, I tried recipe after recipe and tested the market with locals. My noodles were a success and my business took off.
“I am very grateful to be part of the Karnival Usahawan Desa as it is a good platform for us to promote and market our product to the public,” she said.
Another participant, Rosalinda Calleja is also grateful to the Karnival Usahawan Desa as it provides opportunity to entrepreneurs in rural areas who have no means to promote their products.
The Pitch Borneo 2016 winner from Ranau produces local fruits jam and was promoting two types, Bambangan and Durian at the carnival.
“We have been selling local fruits jam for two and a half years. We do not use preservatives, colouring or water in our jams. It is 100 per cent fruit pulp,” Rosalinda said adding that Bambangan jam is very popular among tourists.
Research and Development on the jam took about one and a half years she said adding that she learnt the skill form her mother who produces langsat, manggis (mangosteen) and jambu (guava) jam.
“KUD is very helpful especially to those in the rural areas who have never been to an event that promotes local products. They can showcase their products and we all know that Sabah has many local products,” she said.
For Wasinah Kuntagil who is attending the carnival with four women from her village in Ranau, the response to their products is very good.
Some of their customers already know what these local products are while some are curious and bought the just to try, she said.
“Like the ‘linopot’, those who have heard about it were excited to see it at our booth so they bought some to try. Others were keen to try our sambal tomato, sambal tuhau which has sold out, multi flavour ‘sukun’ crisps and serunding,” she said.
Wasinah who is no stranger to such carnivals said she brought along her friends to give them exposure on how to do promotion and networking .
“We are very grateful to Datuk Amisah and Bersatu Srikandi for bringing us to the carnival. Not only do we have the opportunity to promote our products we also get to earn some income through the sale of the items,” she said.
Visitors to the four-day event can also patronise the food court which offers local cuisine or try out the fare at any of the food trucks there. They can also visit the livestock area where a white cow is on display with other animals like deer and goats.
There are daily lucky draws as well as buskers to entertain the visitors.