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BLUE OCEAN STRATEGY: Government initiatives have taken them out of the poverty trap
SEPANG: MORE than 7,000 hardcore poor now enjoy higher income and a better quality of life, thanks to the government's Azam Tani programme.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the government's "productive welfare" initiative not only aided the poor to escape the poverty trap in the short term but also helped increased their incomes.
"The 7,632 participants under the programme are no longer in the hardcore poor category, with many of them earning RM1,500 per month from agricultural activities," he said when launching the national Blue Ocean Strategy 3 project yesterday.
Najib said the government used the Blue Ocean Strategy (BOS) approach in the implementation of programmes in a timely, yet cost-effective, manner.
There were four main elements under BOS -- eliminating wastage, redundancy and red tape, reducing costs, raising opportunities and creating new opportunities and openings.
He said this was the practice now and it had yielded great results.
"For example, the cooperation between the military and police has enabled 20,000 personnel to be deployed to fight crime without extra cost incurred by the government."
Najib said the agriculture sector had multiple challenges, including climate change, the increasing cost of input materials and the availability of foreign workers.
"So, we need to find creative ways to overcome the challenges. The old practice of the 3T system -- tanam, tinggal dan tuai (plant, leave it and harvest) -- is obsolete and no longer feasible. Technology and the ability to innovate are the keys to facing challenges in agriculture."
Citing the Netherlands as an example, Najib said despite the country's size, which was as big as Pahang and only three per cent of its 16 million population were involved in the agriculture sector, it remained the world's third biggest exporter of food.
This was due to optimum utilisation of technology in the field, said Najib.
He said the rock melon project was a good model which incorporated new technology with the BOS approach.
"A fertigation method was introduced together with a soilless production system, a computerised system that can control the nutrients fed to the plants and its environment and a green house to ensure agricultural activities all year round."
Najib said the high-value agriculture project could become the incubator model for future entrepreneurs, besides being a hub for agro-tourism.
He also said it was suitable to bring it to the city outskirts as part of the Rural Transformation Programme.
Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Noh Omar, in his speech, said initially the land, which was undeveloped and belonged to the Malaysian Armed Forces, was not suitable for agriculture due to the muddy soil.
"Advanced agricultural technology has helped to develop this project. Agriculture is no longer constrained to fertile land as new techniques and technology can improve the land conditions."