PAHANG, 1 AUGUST 2016: Koperasi Agropolitan Lepar Berhad (KALB), a co-operative established by the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC), has recently been recognised by the Malaysia Co-operative Societies Commission for its life-changing impact on its participants.
KALB received an award under the “Agriculture and Agro-based Industry” category in conjunction with the National Co-operative Day at the Pahang state-level celebration. The award ceremony was witnessed by YB Dato’ Seri Hamzah Bin Zainudin, the Minister of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives, and Consumerism (KPDNKK) Malaysia.
“This award is a tribute to the hard work and determination of the participants of our Agropolitan project. We are extremely proud to see that our efforts to build an inclusive and people-centric economy in the ECER are on the right track particularly in terms of empowering the bottom 40% (B40) households. This is certainly in line with the Government’s new economic model which gives equal emphasis to both capital economy and people economy,” said YBhg. Datuk Seri Jebasingam Issace John, Chief Executive Officer of ECERDC.
KALB, which currently employs six Agropolitan participants, has achieved significant success in improving the livelihood of its participants. Over the years, it has continued to win the confidence of its customers including Ayamas Food Corporation Sdn. Bhd. which has appointed KALB as its “Ayamas Contract Farmer” since 2012. KALB has been consistently disbursing dividends to its members following its good performance and track record.
Moving forward, KALB is also looking into selling Napier grass and silage to local breeders amid the growing demand in the agriculture industry.
“The Agropolitan Project has provided a much needed platform for the lower income individuals and families to transform their lives through agriculture-related economic activities. In addition to a stable job and steady income from primary activity, our participants are also earning supplementary income from secondary economic activities under the co-operative. In fact, many are currently earning an average household income of RM1,500 per month. This is a significant boost from the less than RM350 a month prior to joining our programme,” he added.
The Agropolitan project is a poverty eradication programme undertaken by the Government through ECERDC in which B40 participants are resettled and employed in the agriculture plantation and the livestock industries. In Pahang, the Agropolitan project is implemented in three locations in Pekan; namely Lepar (Batu 8), Runchang and Tanjung Batu. Agropolitan was first initiated in 2011 in Lepar, with 100 participants involved in the Dorper sheep rearing as their primary economic activity with an average monthly income of about RM1,100 per month. To further boost the participants’ socio-economic status, Koperasi Agropolitan Lepar Berhad was established to venture into secondary economic activities such as rearing of chicken and sale of fertilizer.
“The Agropolitan programme is an important catalyst to accelerate growth and development especially in the rural areas of ECER. Through a holistic and integrated approach, we are enabling participants to be an integral part of the local socio-economy, thereby enabling the B40 group to uplift their livelihood,” Datuk Seri Issace concluded.
In addition to Pekan Agropolitan, ECERDC has also undertaken the Besut-Setiu Agropolitan project in Terengganu and South Kelantan Agropolitan in Gua Musang, Kelantan. In total, more than 1,087 participants are involved with a monthly income of up to RM1,500.