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Saturday September 29, 2012

RM5.8bil agro allocation to ensure food security

THE Government will continue to give priority to the agriculture sector to ensure food security and enhance national income with an allocation of RM5.8bil to the Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Ministry.

“We will also allocate RM30mil for agricultural development programmes, including high-technology applications in fruit and vegetable production as well as establishment of fish markets for the rakyat,” Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said, adding that a further RM75mil would be channelled to increase output of food and health products.

Also, RM432mil will be allocated for oil palm replanting programmes to increase the annual yield to 26.2 tonnes per hectare in 2020 compared to the current 21 tonnes.

Four new rice granaries will be developed and expanded in Kota Belud, Batang Lupar, Rompin and Pekan with an expenditure of RM140mil.

As for the fishermen, the Government will allocate RM230mil as an incentive for fish landing as well as payment of living allowances.

Najib said the Government would continue to provide subsidies and incentives amounting to RM2.4bil to assist farmers to reduce production costs.

The aid includes subsidies on fertilisers and incentives to increase production.

For the first time, a Takaful Coverage Scheme is introduced and is expected to benefit 172,000 padi farmers who own fields less than 10 hectares.

The total compensation to be received by each farmer is estimated at RM13,000.

Terengganu Farmers’ Association Board director Shamsuddin Mat Rani said the assistance for farmers under Budget 2013 would certainly lessen their burden, especially the RM30mil aid for agricultural development programmes.

“The programmes will certainly assist farmers to implement high-technology applications in fruit and vegetable production.

“Furthermore, the RM705mil allocated for replanting and technology development for oil palm will spur growth for the smallholders,” he said.

Kampung Chek Long Farmers’ Association chairman Idris Jusoh, 40, said it was good to know that the Government had not forgotten farmers.

“We will work harder with all the aid given,” he added.

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