SINGAPORE� Do you have any cash left with you? I just need S$50 please. Lots of Malaysian products here and they are all halal, this writer overheard a pregnant woman asking her husband.

Anticipating an affirmative answer from her husband, the woman obviously had just finished purchasing baby items at the adjacent hall where the International Halal 2017 is being held at Hall 4B, Expo, in Changi.

It needs to be mentioned here that rural area products showcased, under the My Kampung My Future (MKMF) programme, has been attracting thousands of Singaporeans since Nov 23. The event ends yesterday.

This writer and other Malaysian journalists observed that people from all walks of life, irrespective of race and religion, swamping Hall 4B.

The products originated from 13 villages across Malaysia and raked in sales of about RM11 million since the expo was introduced five years ago.

Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry Secretary-General Dr Ismail Bakar said the programme was carried out in collaboration with the Federal Agriculture Marketing Authority (FAMA) of Malaysia.

“Many of the products brought from the villages included, among others, soursop essence, lime cordial, layered cake and dodol,” he said.

“The programme was aimed at promoting and generating economic activities in the villages as well as to reduce the migration of youths to the cities,” he said.

In this regard, the ministry was now studying the possibility of developing programmes for rural youths to be engaged in small and medium industries.

The programme, organised by MegaXpress International Pte Ltd, is a continuation of the Malaysian Food & Fruits Fiesta programme which FAMA participated in for 10 consecutive years.

The event’s location at Expo is truly ideal as the construction of the second Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system, the Downtown Line, which opened in October, made it convenient for Singaporeans as there was a stop for commuters to get off at Expo, where the event is being held.

MRT’s first route via the East West Line also makes a stopover at Expo.