Monday, March 1, 2010

Agro-tech parks to be revived to boost food production
Tim Leonard

SHAH ALAM (Feb 28, 2010): The Selangor Public Accounts Committee (PAC) will work on finding the right mechanism to revive several agro technology parks for permanent food production in the state.

State PAC chairman Lee Kim Sin, who visited two agro technology parks in Bukit Changgang, Kuala Langat and Sg. Blankan in Sepang last Thursday, said it was important to find ways so that the parks live up to their purpose and boost the agriculture sector in the state.

Accompanying Lee were PAC members Ng Suee Lim (Sekinchan), Dr Cheah Wing Yin (Damansara Utama) and Suhaimi Shafiei (Sri Muda).

The visits were initiated following a report by the auditor-general last year that some of the eight agro technology parks in Selangor were not showing signs of encouraging development and were becoming unprofitable and a waste of public funds.

Lee said the state PAC will prepare a report on their findings and give their recommendations to the government on all eight parks in the state.

"There are also several issues we need to sort out, including alienation of the land, agreements between state government and farmers occupying the land as well as issues pertaining to the type of food produced in these parks," he said.

"When these parks were initiated more than a decade ago, the objective was to help farmers produce the right kind of food to meet local and overseas demand, as well as to enable the farmers to generate an income of at least RM3,000 per month.

"But we find these targets have not been achieved and the performance of some parks is actually getting worse," Lee said.

He said some farmers were found to be earning less than RM1,000 per month.

Currently, a variety of vegetables such as potatoes, chili, tomatoes, pineapple and others are grown in the parks, as well as cattle breeding.

The state PAC will visit other agro technology parks this week. -- theSun

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