Dorper Sheep Rearing & Oil Palm Plantation As Main Economic Activities; Participants Already Enjoying RM1,100 Average Monthly Income

 Prime Minister, YAB Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak officially launched the East Coast Economic Region (ECER)’s Pekan Agropolitan poverty eradication project in Tanjung Batu here today, the third and latest project site for the ECER’s Pekan Agropolitan initiative following its implementation in Runchang and Batu 8 since 2009 and 2011 respectively.

The Pekan Agropolitan project was implemented by ECERDC in collaboration with the Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA). While the Pekan Agropolitan projects in Runchang and Batu 8 are focusing on Dorper sheep rearing as their primary economic activity, the Pekan Agropolitan project in Tanjung Batu is focusing on oil palm plantation as its main economic activity for the participants.

The Pekan Agropolitan project in Tanjung Batu currently involves the participation of 213 families, who were selected among the hardcore poor in the Pekan district. The families moved into their new homes built by ECERDC in October 2012 and are currently working at a 1,352-hectare oil palm plantation.

The participants received their participation certificate from the Prime Minister at the official launch ceremony today, which was also attended by the Chief Executive Officer of the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC), YBhg. Dato’ Jebasingam Issace John.

Since the launch of Agropolitan Pekan pilot project in Runchang back in 2009, the average household income of Agropolitan Pekan participants have increased to RM1,100 per month from less than RM500 monthly before joining this project, said YAB Dato’ Sri Najib. The figure is expected to increase to RM5,000 a month by 2020, he added.

“The Agropolitan project is in line with the Government’s Transformation Programme and Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) which aims to create a high-income nation across all levels of the society,” Dato’ Sri Najib said.

“The achievement of Pekan Agropolitan participants to-date is a strong proof that the Pekan residents are also capable of playing an important role in accelerating the transformation of the East Coast Economic Region (ECER),” he noted.

The Pekan Agropolitan project is part of the Agropolitan initiative undertaken by the Government via ECERDC to eradicate poverty in ECER. Under the Agropolitan project, the hardcore poor are given the opportunity to transform their lives through involvement in agriculture-related activities, such as Dorper sheep rearing and oil palm plantation, which is supported by processing and marketing activities.

In addition to enjoying a higher income, the participants are also living in a much improved conditions in their new 3-bedroom homes built by ECERDC. The housing area for Pekan Agropolitan participants in Tanjung Batu is also well-equiped with modern facilities and amenities such as surau, community hall, futsal court and kindergarten, among others.

The Pekan Agropolitan was first launched in 2009 with its pilot project involving the Orang Asli community in Runchang. With Dorper sheep rearing as their primary economic activity, the Orang Asli participants in Runchang are now earning RM850 a month by just working five hours a day at the animal production units.

The Pekan Agropolitan project in Batu 8 also involves Dorper sheep rearing as its primary economic activity and the participants are now earning an average monthly income of about RM1,100 per month.

The Pekan Agropolitan project currently involves 415 participants, comprising 213 participants in Tanjung Batu, 100 participants in Batu 8 and 102 participants in Runchang.

To date, ECERDC has built 100 homes for Pekan Agropolitan participants in Batu 8 which have been occupied since 2011, plus another 213 homes for Pekan Agropolitan participants in Tanjung Batu.

ECERDC is currently constructing an additional 50 homes for the participants in Batu 8, as well as 102 new homes in Runchang for the Orang Asli project participants.

In addition to Pekan Agropolitan, ECERDC is also undertaking the Besut-Setiu Agropolitan project in Terengganu, and South Kelantan Agropolitan in Gua Musang, Kelantan.

The uniqueness of Agropolitan project lies in its holistic approach to ensure its sustainability. In addition to primary and secondary economic activities that will help ensure a steady stream of income for participants, the children of participants are also empowered with academic and motivational programmes under ECERDC’s empower ECER and Sinar ECER initiatives to ensure a brighter future among the young Agropolitan generation.