RM1 bil cash crop project to restore Felda’s financial health

The cash crop project will help Felda settlers.

KUALA LUMPUR: The agriculture and agro-based industry ministry is undertaking a RM1 billion cash crop project to help restore Felda’s financial health within five years.

Minister Salahuddin Ayub said the decision was made at the meeting of the National Physical Planning Council (NPPC) yesterday with Economic Affairs Minister, Mohamed Azmin Ali, who tabled the new approach.

“To restore Felda’s financial position, perhaps a quarter of the RM1 billion will be used to start the project. Indeed these two ministries must cooperate in this effort.

“We have the expertise through agencies such as Mardi (Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute) and Fama (Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority).

“They will take on the role of helping Felda and make the cash crop concept a success,” he told a news conference after a town hall session here today.

Describing the measure as a big challenge for his ministry, Salahuddin said the secretaries-general of both ministries would start the discussions while further measures would be taken at the ministerial level to help Felda increase its income.

On April 10, Azmin had tabled the Felda White Paper themed “Towards Felda’s Sustainability” in Parliament which explains the issues faced by Felda and its restoration plan to win back public confidence in the agency and to safeguard the interests of the settlers.

Salahuddin said he had also received feedback from local entrepreneurs to expand their businesses.

He said Fama needed to improve the online business platform, www.agrobazaar.com.my “as online sales is the trend now and has high potential to assist local entrepreneurs in marketing their products at a higher level”.

Fama chairman Ishak Ismail said sales via the agrobazaar portal reached RM4.5 million last year, involving 4,840 registered marketers.

“Online marketing is a popular sales medium now due to the fast and convenient transactions, with delivery service also provided,” he added.