Call for govt to leverage on Nash cooperatives
KUALA LUMPUR: The National Association of Smallholders (Nash) has called on the government to leverage on its members’ cooperatives to implement rural development.
Yesterday, Nash president Datuk Aliasak Ambia said “the government has to properly consider the cooperatives as a vehicle for rural development”.
“Through the cooperatives, oil palm and rubber smallholders are better able to leverage on economies of scale in their businesses,” he said.
Nash members are part of several cooperatives all over the country, including the Koperasi Permodalan Felda.
Before smallholders’ cooperatives were established, oil palm and rubber smallholders had very low acreage. Today, their land areas are comparable to estates owned by big plantation firms.
In view of the coun- try celebrating its 100th anniversary of commercial oil palm planting, Aliasak noted that smallholders’ interests were mainly focused on upstream activities of tending to the trees.
“The government, in giving due recognition to smallholders’ cooperatives, would facilitate our members to invest in businesses throughout the palm oil and rubber value chain,” he said.
“We believe smallholders are better able to contribute to the economy, and in the longer term be part of the Transformasi Nasional 2050 programme via the cooperatives platform,” he added.
Last week, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced an additional RM510 million oil palm replanting budget for independent smallholders from now until end-2020.
Aliasak noted that smallholders were grateful for the additional allocation as it would help ease their financial burden and raise national productivity at the fields. Ooi Tee Ching
Datuk Aliasak Ambia