PEKAN, 18 JULY, 2013 : Some 100 Pekan Agropolitan participants in Lepar, together with their family members and rakyat from surrounding villages, were treated to a buka puasa session with Kebawah Duli Yang Teramat Mulia Tengku Mahkota Pahang, Tengku Abdullah Al-Haj ibni Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Al-Musta’in Billah at Taman Agropolitan Lepar, Pekan here today.
The event, which was attended by some 600 Pekan locals in total, was organised by the Pahang State Government in collaboration with the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC).
KDYTM Tengku Mahkota Pahang also presented Ramadhan gifts, courtesy of Majlis Agama Islam Pahang, to the 100 Agropolitan participants and another 32 local villagers in preparation for Hari Raya celebration.
Also present at this special royal treat were Kebawah Duli Yang Teramat Mulia Tengku Puan Pahang, Tunku Hajjah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah binti Almarhum Almutawakkil ‘Alallah Sultan Iskandar, Menteri Besar of Pahang,YAB Dato’ Sri DiRaja Haji Adnan bin Haji Yaakob, State Assemblyman for Pulau Manis, YB Encik Khairuddin Bin Mahmud, Chief Executive Officer of ECERDC, YBhg. Dato’ Jebasingam Issace John, the Pahang State Executive Committee and members of the royal court.
The Agropolitan project is a poverty eradication initiative introduced by ECERDC which involves the participation of the rural poor in the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) in agriculture-related projects. Participants, who previously earned RM350 a month, are now earning an average income of RM1,100 a month. In addition, they are provided with new houses, complete with community facilities, when they moved into the Agropolitan project site with their families.
ECERDC is currently implementing the Agropolitan projects in the states of Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu respectively. In Pahang, ECERDC has launched the Pekan Agropolitan in three sites, namely, Batu 8 in Lepar, Runchang and Tanjung Batu. ECERDC has appointed the Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA) as the implementing agency for the Pekan Agropolitan project.
Pekan Agropolitan project in Batu 8, Lepar became operational in 2011, and is currently home to 100 participants, who are involved in Dorper sheep rearing as their primary economic activity. They play a key role in the emergence of the Pekan Agropolitan as a significant player in Dorper sheep farming industry in the state.
In 2012, participants of Pekan Agropolitan in Lepar took the initiative to set up Koperasi Agropolitan Lepar Berhad that is involved in poultry farming as their secondary economic activity. The cooperative employs family members of participants to rear some 50,000 chicken. As cooperative members, participants can expect to earn additional income from dividend payments once this project becomes profitable.
ECERDC adopts a holistic approach to poverty eradication in its Agropolitan project, addressing both the economic and social needs of participants.
Motivation sessions were held for the participants and they are trained on money management skills. Family members are also encouraged to earn an additional income through Agropolitan secondary activities while children of the Agropolitan are provided with special academic training and guidance to improve their grades at school. Ultimately, ECERDC strives to integrate the Aropolitan families into mainstream life so that they are not left out of the new wealth created by the economic transformation of ECER.