Dr Annuar Rapaeennuar

SIBU (Oct 18): A mechanism has been put in place to monitor the progress of the participants involved in the Agriculture Facilitation Fund (AFF) Project for Nangka state constituency to ensure the project does not become a ‘white elephant’, assures Assistant Minister of Local Government and Housing Dr Annuar Rapaee.

“The Agriculture Department will closely monitor the progress of each and every participant.

“The relevant parties such as those distributing the materials (to the participants), selected by the department, will also double up to monitor participants’ progress, in addition to provide guidance,” he said.

Dr Annuar, who is Assistant Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research, assured that the AFF project is transparent and based on an open tender, where the tender board is chaired by Sibu Resident.

The Nangka assemblyman further explained that he is not in the tender board.

As for selection of the AFF Project’s participants, he informed that they were listed and selected by the Agriculture Department based on certain criteria.

“We do not want those participants who quit halfway through the project. We want those who are serious to see through that their efforts bear fruition.

“This is a long-term project and you cannot expect to reap the fruits of labour overnight,” he pointed out.

Dr Annuar said this to reporters when met after handing out the Agriculture Facilitation Fund to 53 participants, totalling RM1 million at MUC hall here today.

The event was jointly organised by the Nangka Service Centre and Sibu District Agriculture Department.

Dr Annuar revealed that from the 53 participants, 31 were involved in fertigation farming, 15 for baby corn and seven for food sector.

Elaborating, he explained that the fund was from the state government, channelled through the Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development, to each state constituency (DUN) to promote modern farming, where each DUN receives RM1 million yearly.

“It is our fervent hope that the participants will be able to improve their income through such involvement,” Dr Annuar said.

Earlier, the department’s assistant enforcement officer, Jenattan Sambang Ai introduced participants to the background, core objectives, scope of the programme among others.