Embrace modern trends, Malaysia rural folk told

MALACCA - The Government is focusing on modern technology, widening market prospects and adopting good practices to upgrade the agricultural sector.

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said he wanted rural folk to also change their mindset to accommodate these trends.

"We should distance ourselves from conventional farming and marketing methods," the prime minister said during the launch of Malacca's Taman Rimbunan Kaseh farming initiative at Serkam near here yesterday.

The rural transformation project, developed with a RM24mil (S$9mil) allocation from the Federal Government and RM3mil from the state government, is aimed at raising the income levels of the poor.

Najib said rural folk should accept change by adopting new methods and technologies to reap higher yields.

He said farmers should know their target markets and not just depend on traditional sales points.

"The time has come to explore niche markets in the Klang Valley, Singapore and elsewhere," he said. "And, not just sell along roadsides."

In his speech, Najib lauded the state government's efforts, saying the Taman Rimbunan Kaseh rural transformation project was the first to be completed nationwide.

He said the project had assisted the needy, citing as an example a single mother who pawned her mobile phone to feed her eight children, three of whom were handicapped.

"She is now earning RM1,500 a month with a roof over her head,'' he revealed.

Under the project, rural folk will grow rice, rockmelon and breed catfish for the local and foreign markets.

Each family will also get housing with a monthly rental of RM100.