PUTRAJAYA: The Cabinet has pledged “unlimited” funds to ensure the success of the “one village one industry” programme aimed at boosting the economy of rural folk.
Rural Development Minister Datuk Azmi Khalid said the Government would do whatever was necessary to translate the idea into a reality as soon as possible.
“Funding is not an issue. We know that our rural folk can produce world-class quality handicraft and other products,” he told reporters at his office yesterday.
The main thing that needs to be done now, he added, was to look for markets for the products, including those overseas, and at how best to organise the rural folk's activities to guarantee a constant supply.
“We also need to teach them about economy of scale so that they will view their activities as an enterprise rather than just something they do at home when they have time to spare,” he said.
Azmi said the Cabinet had also asked all major shopping complexes such as KLCC to provide space for the display of handicraft and other items produced by the rural community at a more reasonable rate.
Given the high rentals, he noted, rural folk would find it hard on their own to penetrate the up-scale market where their products could fetch better prices.
He said Felcra Bhd – the marketing arm of Felcra – had been given the task of exploring new markets for products from the programme and to carry out research and development activities to improve their quality.
As an example, he said, several local design schools had already agreed to serve as consultants to the project to add more variety to the products traditionally produced by kampung folk.
“Another aspect that we will pay close attention to will be the branding and packaging of such products so that they can be easily accepted overseas,” he added.
Azmi said a survey was currently being conducted to assess and identify potential areas to further develop the scheme and to match villages with potential activities to get the maximum returns from these ventures.
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