Agropolitan Project To Eradicate Hardcore Poverty In Pekan

7/18/2009 — BERNAMA
Pahang’s second agropolitan project in Bebar, Pekan, will create 5,000 new jobs and elevate the monthly household income of hardcore poor families in Pekan district to more than RM1,000 next year.
Some 1,450 hardcore poor households, including 700 Orang Asli families will participate in the project, to be launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Aug 4.
The Malay participants will reside at a new area in Tanjung Batu, Bebar, while the Orang Asli families will remain in their villages but work at the plantation area.
The RM90 million Pekan agropolitan project will cover an area of 1,825 hectares with oil palm plantation and sheep rearing as the primary activities to help increase participants’ income from RM350 to RM1,500 a month.
It is the only agropolitan project in Pahang that is under the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) master plan.
The Rural and Regional Development Ministry is handling the other two agropolitan projects in Gahai, Lipis and Chemomoi, Bentong.
ECER Development Council (ECERDC) chief executive officer Datuk Jebasingham Issace John said the Pekan agropolitan was one of four agropolitan projects within the ECER, the other three are in south Kelantan, north Kelantan and Besut-Setiu in Terengganu.
“We will introduce a business model that will enable each participant to earn at least RM1,000 from the first month and we will also train and prepare them with the right attitude and necessary skills,” he said after meeting the first batch of 50 participants who are undergoing a two-day course at the Sanctuary Resort in Cherating near here Friday.
He said Felda as the main implementing agency would manage the project while ECERDC would act as the facilitator and coordinator.
He said various secondary activities would also be introduced in Pekan agropolitan such as downstream initiatives related to oil palm and sheep rearing, bird’s nest cultivation, sewing, aquaculture and mushroom growing.
“We will also establish a collection, processing and packaging centre and a marketing facility,” he said.
Jebasingham said the first 1,000 sheep of the Dorper breed would arrive here on July 22 and they would be sent to the Runchang Orang Asli resettlement scheme in Pekan.
“We choose the Dorper breed as they are easy to raise and could reach maturity in six months.
“In two years, the participants are expected to double their income to RM2,286 monthly and it could exceed RM3,000 when the oil palm fruits can be harvested,” he said.