Dr Annuar Rapaee

SIBU: A modern agricultural training centre will be built in Penasu here, said Assistant Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dr Annuar Rapaee.

He said the Nangka Service Centre was in the process of building the training centre.

“The centre, costing about RM50,000, is expected to be completed in two to three months as part of our efforts to produce more young agricultural entrepreneurs from the Nangka constituency.

“The centre is the result of my own initiative together with my friends and the Nangka Service Centre Agriculture Committee,” he said.

He said this to reporters after presenting Agricultural Facilitation Fund (AFF) grants totalling RM1 million to 53 recipients at the MUC Hall here, on Sunday.

Dr Annuar, who is also Assistant Minister of Local Government and Housing, said the decision to set up the centre was made following a number of youths expressing interest in venturing into modern agriculture.

“We started on a small-scale to train the youth on modern agricultural methods such as the use of fertigation systems.

 “When the training centre is completed, it will provide comprehensive training to the youths, in addition to serving as an incubator centre for young agricultural entrepreneurs,” he said.

The Nangka assemblyman said he was targeting to recruit the first group of trainees to the centre from as early as next year.

He explained that the Penasu area was chosen due to the many agriculture fertigation projects that were previously carried out in the area.

Apart from that, he said the area was suitable because electricity and water supply were readily available.

Meanwhile, Dr Annuar said a mechanism had been set up to monitor the progress of the participants involved in the AFF project to ensure that the project did not become a ‘white elephant’.

He said the Agriculture Department would monitor the progress of each participant carefully.

“Relevant parties such as those who distribute materials (to participants) selected by the department will also be doubled to monitor the progress of participants, besides providing guidance,” he said, adding that the AFF project is transparent and based on open tenders, where the tender board is chaired by Sibu Resident Charles Siaw.