MELAKA, Oct 12 — The Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry had been given an increased allocation in the 2020 Budget to continue to boost additional income growth for fishermen and farmers in the bottom 40 percent (B40) group.
Its minister, Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub said the ministry would use the allocation of RM4.9 billion in the best and wisest method to assist the B40 group.
“With the allocation given to us, we will focus on the efforts to improve the welfare of fishermen and farmers by providing incentives and assisting them to develop together in the sector,” he told reporters here today.
He said this after attending an investiture ceremony in conjunction with the 81st birthday of Melaka Yang Dipertua Negeri, Tun Dr Mohd Khalil Yaakob at Balai Istiadat, Seri Negeri in Ayer Keroh today.
Salahuddin and Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir were among the nine recipients conferred the Darjah Gemilang Seri Melaka (DGSM) which carries the title Datuk Seri.
In the 2019 Budget, the ministry was allocated RM4.417 billion, with RM3.057 billion for operating expenditure and the remaining for development expenditure.
Elaborating, Salahuddin said the ministry would also focus on “Smart Farming” which is the latest technology in increasing agricultural production with limited use of resources.
He added the move would help the agricultural sector to contribute to the future growth of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP).
“For example, the country’s self-sufficiency level (SSL) for rice has increased to 75 per cent, which could reduce Malaysia’s dependence on imported rice over five years,” he explained.
For the fisheries sector, Salahuddin said the ministry would continue to provide various assistance to them so as they can focus on downstream sectors such as fish processing and no longer depending solely on fishing as a major source of income.
Meanwhile, Mukhriz said the special incentive and provisions for farmers, fishermen and Felda smallholders in Budget 2020 will help ease their financial burden while improving their quality of life.
He added the budget also gave attention to tourism, which would have a huge impact on Kedah, not only on Langkawi Island but also on the mainland of the state. — Bernama