The Star Online – KALB awarded for empowering the lower-income group

KUANTAN: Koperasi Agropolitan Lepar Berhad (KALB), a co-operative established by the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC), has been recognised by the Malaysia Co-operative Societies Commission for its life-changing impact on its participants.

During the state-level celebration of National Co-operative Day, KALB received an award under the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry category.

ECERDC chief executive officer Datuk Seri Jebasingam Issace John said the award was a tribute to the hard work and determination of the participants of the 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,” he said in a statement.

According to the statement, KALB, which currently employs six Agropolitan participants, had been consistently disbursing dividends to its members following its good performance and track record.

Moving forward, KALB was 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,” said Jebasingam.

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.

To further boost the participants’ socio-economic status, KALB was established to venture into secondary economic activities such as rearing of chicken and sale of fertiliser.

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

The statement said that in total, more than 1,087 participants were involved with a monthly income of up to RM1,500.