KUALA LUMPUR, April 19 — The Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry (MoA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Economic Affairs will undertake a RM1 billion cash crop project to help restore Felda’s financial health within five years.
Its minister, Datuk Salahuddin Ayub said the decision was made at the meeting of the National Physical Planning Council (NPPC) yesterday with Economic Affairs Minister, Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali who tabled the new approach.
“To restore Felda’s financial position, perhaps a quarter of the RM1 billion be used to start the project. Indeed these two ministries must cooperate in this effort.
“The MoA has the expertise through agencies such as MARDI (Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute) and FAMA (Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority) which will take on the role of helping Felda and making the cash crop concept a success,” he told a news conference after a Town Hall session with MoA customers, here, today.
Describing the measure as a big challenge for his ministry, Salahuddin said the secretary-generals of both ministries would start the discussion while further measures would be taken at the ministerial level to help Felda increase its income.
On April 10, Mohamed Azmin had tabled the Felda White Paper themed ‘Towards Felda’s Sustainability’ in Parliament which explains the issues faced by Felda and its restoration plan to win back public confidence in the agency and to safeguard the interest of the settlers.
Salahuddin who earlier attended the Meet-the Customers programme organised by FAMA, said he received various feedback from local entrepreneurs towards helping this group expand their businesses.
He said FAMA needed to improve the online business platform, www.agrobazaar.com.my, “as online sale is the trend now and has high potential to assist local entrepreneurs market their products at a higher level”.
Meanwhile, FAMA chairman, Ishak Ismail said sales via the agrobazaar portal reached RM4.5 million last year involving 4,840 registered marketers.
“Online marketing is a popular sales medium now due to the fast and convenient transactions with delivery service also provided,” he added. — Bernama