Each agroprenuer received initial funding of RM50,000 from Puan Khadijah Iskandar, Covering Duties President / Chief Executive Officer of Agrobank and witnessed by YB Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub, Minister of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry at a ceremony in Mersing, Johor held on 8 February 2020.
This is part of Agrobank’s initiative to empower the Bottom 40 per cent (B40) micro-entrepreneurs in the agriculture community and at the same time supporting the nation’s shared prosperity agenda.
“Today, we are witnessing a strategic collaboration between Agrobank, Lembaga Perindustrian Nanas Malaysia and Syarikat Kulim in an effort to open up more opportunities and encourage youth participation in pineapple cultivation projects. This is in line with the new direction of the MOA’s ‘Priorities & Strategies 2019-2020’ especially in encouraging private participation to boost the country’s agro-food industry,” said Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub.
“The ministry is committed to provide young people with an interest in agriculture especially in the pineapple cultivation sector which promises a good return. We hope that such programmes will attract more youth from the B40 group to be involved in the agriculture business and thus improve their standard of living.” he added.
According to Khadijah Iskandar, Covering Duties President/Chief Executive Officer of Agrobank, “As a Development Financial Institution (DFI), we look to create and deliver value through our business activities especially towards supporting the shared prosperity agenda. We are committed to empower the B40 group through our structured micro financing programmes with focus on 3A objectives – Accessibility, Availability and Affordability.”
“Through this micro financing programme, we have provided micro financing for all 12 pineapple planters registered under Syarikat Kulim (M) Bhd (the anchor company). From this programme, the essential supplies of growing pineapple such as the pineapple suckers of MD2, consultation and sale of pineapple will be managed by Syarikat Kulim (M) Bhd,” said Khadijah.
“Pineapple is the new source of wealth and it is a lucrative business. According to Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry (MOA), planters are able to earn approximately RM12,000 a month per hectare cultivated. This is a rewarding business but the issue is always the capital to start this project. This is where Agrobank provides financing to the agropreneur to start their project. Therefore, the potential in this collaboration is hope to improve the living standards of the participants and at the same time to encourage more B40 community to venture into the agriculture sector,” Khadijah added.
“The popularity of pineapples is on the rise locally and globally. In fact, pineapple is now the third most important tropical fruit in world production after banana and citrus; and Malaysia is steadily building its branding by producing the best pineapple worldwide especially for MD2 variety. Pineapple has strong demand not just from the sweet taste and a good source of nutritious of the fruit itself but also pineapple planters may expand their businesses by producing pineapple juice and selling pineapple sucker,” Khadijah added.
Muhammad Shahrul Nizam Abdul Azis, 28, one of the participants of the micro financing programme said, “Agriculture sector is a risky yet a promising business. At first, I thought it was impossible to get into this project with Syarikat Kulim due to its huge investment and commitment but with the micro financing solution provided by Agrobank, I am able to start small. I do believe that the potential in this sector may uplift my living standard and the agriculture community as a whole”.
“I have no experience in agriculture sector however, with technical support, training and guidance from Syarikat Kulim, starting an agriculture business is at ease. I am able to generate a stable income and grow further in this industry especially with the advancement of technology,” he added.
The collaboration between Agrobank and Syarikat Kulim on the micro financing programme was announced in conjunction with the launching ceremony of ‘Pembiayaan Projek Kluster Nanas Lestari Tanah Abang Mersing’ graced by YB Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub, Minister of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry.
As at January 2020 (from April 2019), Agrobank have collaborated with other anchor companies for this kind of micro financing programme in various types of industry such ruminant, poultry and crop.