Some Small Farms Selling Directly to Consumers Increase Sales During Pandemic

New York Times writers Ian Teh and Mike Ives reported this week that, “The setup of the two friends’ agricultural venture was unusual. Their farm sat next to a gas station, inside a shipping container where the plants grew in vertically stacked shelves. And the timing of their first sales — during the early days of Malaysia’s coronavirus outbreak — seemed less than ideal.

“‘We were a nascent product in an uncertain market,’ said Shawn Ng, 28, a co-founder of the vertical farm, the Vegetable Co. ‘We weren’t too sure if it would take off.’

“‘But somehow,’ he added, ‘the market kind of played in our favor.’

As in-person shopping wanes during the pandemic, Mr. Ng’s Malaysia-based operation is one of many small farms around the world that are selling fresh produce directly to consumers in ways that bypass brick-and-mortar grocery stores.”

The Times article noted that, “But even though the rules were gradually loosened to let most businesses reopen, many urban Malaysians have maintained the online shopping habits they developed during the initial lockdown, said Audrey Goo, the founder of MyFishman, an e-commerce platform that connects fishermen from villages along the country’s west coast with consumers in Kuala Lumpur.

“‘Not many end users are willing to go back to the wet market,’ said Ms. Goo, adding that her company’s sales had roughly doubled during the pandemic. ‘So I think the whole business model will continue to change.'”

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