The Oil Palm

New livelihood opportunities for Malaysian farmers

A new generation of palm oil small farmers are being given an opportunity to own homes and improve their livelihoods, according to Malaysian media reports.

FELDA, the Malaysian Federal Land Development Authority which administers a national smallholder palm oil scheme, is reportedly offering new opportunities for participants under the ‘Sentuhan Kasih’ FELDA programme.

The FELDA programme offers settlers the opportunity to improve their livelihoods by participating in the production of a high value added commodity.

The FELDA scheme is widely regarded as a successful model for agricultural driven development in rural areas. By assisting smallholder settlers participate in the agricultural sector, the scheme has assisted hundreds of thousands of low income farmers increase their livelihoods. The scheme has further contributed to national development by providing needed infrastructure and new economic opportunities and markets in rural areas.

According to media reports, the Sentuhan Kasih project recently opened for registration, and is scheduled to commence in February. It was launched by Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in November 2012.

The first phase of the project involves building and allocating 100 houses to provide settlers with comfortable homes to improve quality of life. Each household will reportedly be allocated two 10 hectare plots – one for household use and one for farming. Houses and plots are reportedly available in the Malaysian states of Johor, Pahang; and Terengganu.
FELDA project director, Abdul Malek Jalil, commented that the authority is “doing our best to help FELDA settlers have a better quality of life… we hope the new generation will make good use of the opportunities given to them.”

The new project has been welcomed throughout Malaysia, where the benefits of palm oil in improving low income smallholder are widely recognised.