Agropolitan way to eradicate hardcore poverty

8/6/2009 — The Star
Hardcore poverty will be eradicated by the end of next year with the implementation of agropolitan projects nationwide.
This included the one that was launched in Runchang by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak here yesterday.
The Agropolitan project in Pekan is one of the milestones under the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) masterplan to balance development growth between rural and urban areas, and accelerate rural economic growth through agricultural activities and farm-based industry.
It involves 1,450 families including 750 orang asli families and will create 5,000 new jobs and alleviate hardcore poor household monthly incomes from RM300 to RM1,500.
The participants will be involved in oil palm plantation and sheep rearing as primary activities while supplementing their household income via secondary activities in downstream palm oil initiatives and sheep farming.
Other activities in the pipeline are bird nests cultivation, mushroom planting, tailoring, tourism and homestay programmes as well as production of craftwork, aquaculture and aquaponics practices.
Speaking to reporters later, Najib said a sheep processing centre would be set up in Batu 8, Lepar which was not far from Runchang that would include abattoirs, a training centre and other infrastructure facilities.
“I am attracted to the agropolitan concept as besides venturing into oil palm plantation, they can also become workers in sheep rearing project.
“Those who work half a day will get RM500 while those who work for a full day can earn up to RM1,000,” he added.
To date, 50 participants have been selected and eventually, the two projects would be able to accommodate up to 1,500 participants, Najib said.
Najib also said those who were selected were healthy while the old and sickly would be given welfare aid.
Earlier in his speech, he also paid tribute to former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who modernised the concept of regional development to that introduced by his late father Tun Abdul Razak.