Permanent food production programme in Johor has not been a success

Permanent food production programme in Johor has not been a success
Livestock breeders, with lorries ferrying cows and goats, held a protest outside the Selangor secretariat building in Shah Alam, Malaysia, to ask for more financial aid from the state government back in 2009.

JOHOR BARU - The permanent food production programme (TKPM) in the state has not been a success, as the number of livestock has ironically decreased since the time the breeders joined the scheme.

As pointed out by the 2013 Auditor-General's Report, a large number of farmers had either lower livestock numbers than their agreement or none at all in both 2012 and 2013.

The report had also identified at least six weaknesses in the programme, which covers an area of 3,272ha in seven districts in the state.

Among the weaknesses highlighted were the absence of a long-term development plan and proper records kept by the Veterinary Department about the programme's success, as well as the non-use or lack of maintenance of at least 22 plots in Muar, Segamat and Ledang.

Others included illegal land clearing at five areas in Segamat and Ledang for agriculture, the violation of contracts by at least 35 farmers in Segamat, Muar and Ledang who used their land to plant oil palm and rubber trees, and overlapping of boundaries in Segamat and Ledang.

The TKPM, which is managed by the Veterinary Department, started in 2000 to encourage local farmers to be involved in large-scale commercial farming and food production-related activities.

It is primarily aimed at boosting food production and ensuring food safety and security in the country.

It is also hoped that the programme would help to improve the net monthly income of farmers to more than RM3,000 (S$1,200).

Under the TKPM, the department allocates the area, prepares the infrastructure including drainage and roads, plants grass and even provides training for the participants.

In turn, the participants have to come up with their own capital, workforce and livestock, while the land is leased to them for between RM25 and RM50 per hectare annually.

They are only allowed to rear cows, goats, buffalos, deer and chickens.

It suggested that the department look at the implementation of the programme and come up with long-term development plans to ensure its success and also fine-tune some of the clauses in the agreement.

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