Felda "Mengkuang" products proudly displayed on the shelves of Starbucks
Last Update: 23/09/2019
PEKAN, Sept 23 -- "The Mengkuang Series" has been gracing the shelves of Starbucks for quite a few years now, but not many knows the story behind each and every mengkuang or screw pine handicraft products displayed proudly in the stores of the coffee giant.
The line of products that includes hot cup sleeves, coasters and bags, produced by the community of Felda Chini Timur 1 (FCT1) in Pekan, got there in 2014, after being in the industry for 17 years, said Village Community Representative Council (MPKK) Ali Yusof Ab Rahman.
Ali Yusof said that in the beginning, the community of FCT1 wanted to realise Felda's one-region-one-product call, thus he and three other friends took up a loan of RM20,000 each under the Felda Entrepreneur Incentive Scheme to start up the handicraft industry.
They started with zero knowledge, but after a few trial and error sessions with the guidance of a lecturer from a tertiary institution in Johor, the group succeeded to produce their first product, a hand-woven mengkuang bag.
In 2014, Ali Yusof's partner, Nor Mariani Haron, heard about Starbucks's community project, the "Starbucks Connecting Communities in Malaysia” campaign which was looking to promote local products to be sold in its branches, and proceeded to convince her team to approach the coffee producer.
"Some of our ideas were rejected by Starbucks due to their high standard, but we took it as a challenge. Now, I am happy to see our products contributing to the promotion of local products,” Nor Mariani told Bernama.
Meanwhile, FCT1 Manager Mohd Shahrun Ismail said that the whole community had benefited from this venture when the coffee brand "adopted” the village to enable various corporate social responsibility programmes such as donating reading materials to its mini library.