PUTRAJAYA: An agency to provide rural entrepreneurs with advice, know-how and assistance in marketing their products, will be established by the government, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today.
The initiative is one of the strategies needed to enable such products to capture local markets, while penetrating global markets as well, he said, explaining that the government had seen how the “entrepreneurial field has proven to be effective in developing the socio-economic status of rural communities by increasing their incomes and giving them new work opportunities”.
Dr Mahathir said this in a video-recorded speech played at the launch ceremony of the five-day ‘Karnival Usahawan Desa 2019’ (carnival for rural entrepreneurs) held here at the Palace of Justice compound, and also attended by Rural Development Minister Datuk Seri Rina Mohd Harun.
The establishment of the agency was bound to contribute towards efforts to bridge the household income gap between urban and rural families, he said, adding that other measures that could be undertaken included smart partnerships between rural businessmen and various parties including the private sector, with the aim of expanding the networks needed to market and export their products.
The premier noted that rural entrepreneurs will also need to improve their competitiveness by using machinery and technology to make their products, as this will lead to increased productivity, the lowering of costs and consistency in product quality.
As part of measures aimed at inculcating a culture of entrepreneurship, the government had allocated RM200 million for the wholesale and grocery industry, and the purchase of business premises which will be let out to Bumiputera small and medium enterprises (SME), said Dr Mahathir.
Related initiatives include a RM100 million allocation to serve as loans to small-scale entrepreneurs, which he said, should be grabbed by young entrepreneurs particularly those in rural areas, while RM52 million in funding was available for the implementation of various entrepreneurial programmes and farming industry training aimed at attracting the younger generation to involve themselves in the agrofood sector.