KUALA LUMPUR: People in agriculture whose income have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic can apply for a grant of up to RM20,000 from the Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda), said Rural Development Minister Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad.

He said a special study on Covid-19 found that 70 percent of people from the agriculture sector in rural communities suffered a drop in income due to the pandemic.

“There are several programmes and activities under Risda, they can increase their incomes. Those who do not get, Risda has grants of up to RM20,000, not loans. This assistance is for those people affected by Covid-19,” he said during the oral question-and-answer session at the Dewan Rakyat today.

Abdul Latiff was answering a question from Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim (BN-Baling) on the measures taken by the Rural Development Ministry to help rural folks especially with the increase in price of essential goods and the unpredictability of the price of rubber and palm oil.

Replying to a supplementary question from Datuk Seri Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin (PH-Hang Tuah Jaya) on what steps the ministry was taking to ensure that the allocations it provided were implemented effectively, Abdul Latiff said the ministry was working with all state governments to ensure the cost-effectiveness of its programmes.

“We will work with the states and make sure they are cost-effective…we will make sure that the projects and every cent of the people’s money are used for their benefit,” he said. – BERNAMA