KOTA KINABALU: Graduates of an agricultural scheme should use the knowledge and skills they gained to start their own agricultural enterprises instead of seeking employment, says Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan.
The Deputy Chief Minister said trainees at the Integrated Agricultural Training Centre (IATC) have been equipped with valuable lessons, not only on agriculture but also entrepreneurship.
“This is because the main purpose of the centre is to produce confident, skilled and competitive agropreneurs,” he said at the IATC 26th Convocation here on Thursday (Aug 18).
Jeffrey said the courses at the centre were developed and designed with that in mind and trainees were identified and selected based on their potential as agropreneurs.
“This means that the trainees who graduated today already have the talents and potential to be successful agropreneurs.
“I hope they don’t waste these talents by limiting themselves to being employees for the rest of their lives,” he said.
Jeffrey who is also the Sabah Agriculture and Fisheries Minister congratulated all 49 graduates and encouraged them to continue supplementing their knowledge with other soft skills.
This includes skills such as digital marketing in order to take advantage of new platforms like social media to market their products and services, he added.
He also urged the graduates to arm themselves with financial know-how and to be aware of government-linked companies and other agencies such as the Sabah Credit Corporation and AgroBank.
He said that these entities could assist them in funding their projects with low-interest loans.
“I am pleased that trainees at the IATC were exposed to modern agricultural practices such as aquaponics and hydroponicsI am confident that not only did it expose them to new technology but it also increased their confidence in carrying out similar projects in the future,” he said.
According to IATC headmaster Jiffrin Mohamad, the trainees participated in five different incubator projects that generated over RM117,900 in gross income, the highest since the centre first started its incubator projects in 1996.