SERDANG, April 22 (Bernama) — The government has allocated RM3.38 billion for operational expenditure and implementation of agricultural development projects this year, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
The Prime Minister said the agricultural sector would continue to be given emphasis and priority because the sector was critical in ensuring the people’s prosperity.
“Failure in increasing the sources of food supply will lead to inflation and an escalation in food prices.
“As such, one solution to this threat is for us to strive harder so that sources of local food supply can be increased,” he said when addressing farmers, breeders and fishermen, here Friday.
Also present at the gathering was Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Noh Omar.
Najib said among the expenditures approved by the government were RM480 million for padi price subsidy, RM409 million for padi fertiliser subsidy, and RM80 million for incentives for increasing padi yield.
He said the government had also approved a special allocation of RM165 million for the maintenance and improvement of irrigation canals and efforts to raise padi production.
The Prime Minister said the government was currently implementing the RM319 million Paya Peda Dam project in Terengganu to provide irrigation for padi crops.
Besides the substantial funding and expenditure, Najib said the government was also providing an allocation of RM120 million under the Entrepreneur Group Economic Fund (TEKUN) this year to provide micro credit without guarantor and collateral, as well as facilities provided by Agrobank.
He said a total of RM18.9 billion would be invested for the National Key Economic Area under agriculture which would be driven by the private sector, of which RM8.2 billion would be invested by the government while the private sector would invest RM10.7 billion.
“The NKEA under agriculture is projected to contribute RM28.9 billion to the gross national product (GNP) in 2020 and provide 47,600 job opportunities,” he added.
Source : Bernama