12 Jul 2013 11:19

KEPALA BATAS, July 4 (Bernama) -- The National Farmers Organisation (Nafas) has collected RM32 million for a special fund in the first six months of this year to assist its members undertake business ventures, said its Chairman Datuk Seri Saipolbahari Suib.

He said to date a total of RM1.5 million from the special fund had been given to the members for business capital loans particularly for those involving agro-based industry.

"Any member who wants to secure a loan can apply through the various Area Farmers Organisation (PPK) and I believe the fund allocation will increase in the future based on our revenue," he said to reporters after launching the annual general meeting of the Penang State Farmers Organisation (PPN) here today.

To date, some 850,000 farmers are members of 276 PPK and 14 PPN nationwide.

Saipolbahari also urged PPK and PPN to venture into other businesses and not just focus on agriculture in efforts to expand the organisation's businesses.

He said the PPK or PPN in Penang could venture into property development and tourism activities to diversify their existing businesses.

"There are several PPN that have ventured into other sectors, for example, in Johor, they are involved in property development such as building houses, and in Penang, this is an industry that gives lucrative returns.

"Besides being able to increase profits of our organisation, it is also one of the efforts to help members who do not own houses buy them at a cheaper price," he said.

In another development, he said over 5,000 products produced by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have been patented under the 'Peladang' brand name and would be marketed extensively during this festive season.

Saipolbahari said the effort is aimed at commercialising the products and upgrade the economy of the entrepreneurs as well as open a new dimension for SMEs in the country.

"This is an opportunity for every member under Nafas to broaden their business besides creating a sentiment that enables to group them under one brand. The branding also allows the products to be marketed more efficiently and make them easily recognised by customers.

"It would also strengthen the entrepreneurs position in the economy and increase their competitiveness by producing high quality products," he said.