SERDANG, June 15 — After stamping its present in the aviation industry, AirAsia Group is now spreading its wings into the agriculture industry with the launch of agriculture business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce platform Ourfarm.

AirAsia group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said Ourfarm connects farmers and fishermen directly to businesses, especially in the food supply like restaurant and food truck to boost their income.

“When we saw the margin that farmers are making, they should get more profit. We started to look at the supply chain and we thought we could reduce the cost of supply chain and give more profit to farmers.

“We also want to make food cheaper to the public by reducing the cost of supply chain, so that food businesses can offer meals cheaper to the public,” he told the media after the launch of Ourfarm by Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Datuk Seri Ronald Kiandee here today.

In the future, Fernandes said Ourfarm would also provide a warehouse or cold chain facility where not only businesses but also end consumers could buy fresh products like vegetables, fish and meat online.

“Step one is platform, step two is warehouse. The idea is to be able to repackage in consumer sizes and within the next month we will be selling directly to consumers. So, anyone can buy fresh products,” he said.

Kiandee, in his speech, said the newly launched platform not only empowers farmers and fishermen but also helps them increase their income.

“Access to markets has always been a major challenge for our agro-food producers. Many are still dependent on middlemen to not only market their produce and but also to procure agriculture input such as seeds, fertilisers and animal feed,” he said.

He said the platform was backed by AirAsia’s eco-system of cargo, logistics, payment, business and consumer base to overcome the challenges of operating costs and access to new markets for the farmers and buying fresh produce in large quantity at lower prices, as well as enabling logistics service for the business buyers.

Kiandee said the ministry would encourage more than 1,000 farmers registered under its agencies like the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (Fama), Fisheries Development Authority of Malaysia (LKIM) and Farmers’ Organisation Authority (LPP) to go on board with the platform and explore the potentials in e-commerce.

Meanwhile, Ourfarm chief executive officer S. Lalitha said the platform currently has 45 farmers and poultry breeders on board, which provides supply of fresh products to businesses that order a minimum of 50kg per item, around the Klang Valley.

“Currently we are working with all the government-related farmers but moving on we will work with private farmers,” he said, adding that Ourfarm would provide transportation in partnership with which would pick up vegetables from the farmers and distribute them directly to businesses. — Bernama