AGROBANK has stepped forward to distribute meals to Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) undergraduates under Ramadan Kongsi Nikmat –- an annual programme by Star Media Group (SMG).
Agrobank contributed RM50,000 to the programme, which also included the recent distribution of dry food to 200 frontliners working at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang 2.0 Covid-19 Integrated Quarantine and Treatment Centre.
The Ramadan Kongsi Nikmat programme, which started in 2019, gives brands and organisations a platform to show their appreciation and give back to society, especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Product sponsors for this programme are Julie’s, F&N and Saudagar Kurma.
Agrobank chief operating officer Zahid Ahmad Zawawi handed over meals to 200 UPM undergraduates for their breaking of fast. The students also received goodie bags.
Zahid described the coming together of both organisations as the right fit as UPM was formerly an agricultural university while Agrobank, established in 1969, was actively involved in charting the growth and development of Malaysia’s agricultural industry.
“Agrobank offers syariah-compliant products and solutions across various customer segments,
including corporate, commercial, consumer, trade finance and micro financing, ” he said.
He noted that Agrobank’s other collaborations in the past with UPM included the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to produce entrepreneurs in the agricultural field.
“This Agropreneur Incubation six-month programme has been ongoing since 2012, and the MOU was signed with UPM in June 2014.
“This initiative is important to create a good synergy between academia and industry, especially to empower the country’s agricultural industry and give the younger generation more chances to explore career opportunities in agro-based businesses.”
He said this after handing over a poster to UPM deputy vice-chancellor (students affairs and alumni) Prof Dr Arifin Abdu to symbolically mark Ramadan Kongsi Nikmat at Kolej Pendeta Za’Ba in Serdang, Selangor.
Other programmes include the Agrobank-UPM Agriculture Certification Programme (AUACP), which is a customised fast-track course designed for Agrobank staff who have minimal academic qualifications in agriculture.
The programme, introduced in 2017, aims to strengthen Agrobank’s employees’ capability and competency in agricultural business activities so that they can keep abreast of the latest developments in the sector.
“We (the bank) are committed to ensuring our workforce is equipped with the required skill set and knowledge to access agro-based projects effectively, ” said Zahid.
They have conducted AUACP for three batches since 2017 and 103 Agrobank credit personnel had graduated from the programme, he elaborated.
The AUACP 2020 or fourth batch had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, he said.
“There are tentative plans to collaborate with UPM again in the areas of training and entrepreneur development, ” he highlighted.
On research collaboration with UPM, Zahid said that while there were no concrete plans as yet, the bank was open to considering those which could translate into commercially viable projects.
“This falls under the adoption of modern technology and pilot projects initiative of Agrobank’s Strategic Business Planning 2021-2025, ” he revealed.
He expressed hope that the goodie bags, which included Agrobank’s self-protection packs containing hand sanitiser, face masks, wet tissues and face shields, would come in handy for the undergraduates, especially during face-to-face classes.
Prof Arifin said Agrobank’s contribution was in line with UPM’s Prihatin campaign to help underprivileged students.
“We look forward to similar initiatives by other corporations to assist the B40 group, ” he said.
Undergraduates Nur Diyana Izzati Rosle, 23; Nur Khairina Ahmad Hatta, 22; Nur Fatin Amirah Ahmad Amri, 23, and Zulammar Fahmi, 21, from UPM’s Students’ Representative Council received the goodie bags from Zahid on behalf of the students.
Nur Diyana, who is from the Human Ecology Faculty, said the packs from Agrobank would be helpful, especially for students doing lab work on campus.
“The students involved are grateful for this generous donation during the fasting month, ” said Nur Khairina from the Educational Studies Faculty.
Agriculture Faculty student Nur Fatin said Agrobank’s contributions would help the recipients to save on their food expenses.
“Every little bit helps for students on a tight budget, ” added Zulammar, from the Veterinary Medicine Faculty, in thanking Agrobank and SMG for the initiative.