Mahathir to announce new Felda initiative to boost income of settlers

More than 70% of Felda settlers are aged above 56 and some have problems cultivating their land as their children have migrated to the city to find jobs.

ROMPIN: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad is expected to announce a new Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) initiative at the national-level Felda Settlers’ Day celebration to be held at Felda Selancar 3 in Muadzam Shah here on Sunday.

Felda director-general Othman Omar said he hoped the initiative would enable settlers to generate more income and reduce their reliance on oil palm with its unpredictable prices.

“We hope settlers work on a slightly different method from the past via the long-term lease method and by getting involved in cash crop cultivation,” he said when visiting the venue here today.

He said long-term leases were seen as benefiting settlers, especially those who were elderly, as Felda would replant the crops without the settlers having to obtain a loan for the purpose.

He said more than 70% of the settlers were aged 56 and above. Some had problems cultivating their land as their children had migrated to the city to find jobs.

Othman said cash crops could yield revenues of up to five to 10 times and possibly more compared to oil palm, if they were cultivated using sophisticated technology.

He said Economic Affairs minister Mohamed Azmin Ali was expected to attend the event.

The prime minister was also scheduled to announce the winner of the Felda village excellence award for 2018, which offered a cash prize of RM1 million, he said.

Some 10,000 settlers are expected to attend the celebration and participate in various activities, including cooking demonstrations by chef Redzuawan Ismail, better known as Chef Wan.