Agrobank welcomes the Ministry of Agriculture & Agro-Based Industry’s (MOA) initiative to focus on women empowerment issues in 2018, in line with the Government’s announcement in January 2018 that the year 2018 is the Women Empowerment Year.
YB Dato’ Sri Ahmad Shabery Cheek, Minister of Agriculture & Agro-Based Industry recently announced that the concept for Malaysia Agriculture, Horticulture & Agrotourism 2018 (MAHA 2018) is “All About Women’ (Segalanya Wanita). MAHA 2018 will highlight and showcase women in agriculture as the core focus of the programme.
Puan Masaat Awadz, covering duties for President/CEO of Agrobank said, “Women play a significant role in agriculture, the world over. About 70% of the agricultural workers, 80% of food producers, and 10% of those who process basic foodstuffs are women and they also undertake 60 to 90% of the rural marketing; thus making up more than two-third of the workforce in agricultural production (FAO, 1985)”.
Therefore the initiatives by MOA to focus on the role of women empowerment particularly in agro-food sector are indeed timely. Agrobank welcomes such initiative as it is important to highlight the women in agriculture and agro-based industry and their roles in paving the way for a better future.
Agrobank has always been supportive towards the agenda of women empowerment particularly in the agriculture industry. Agrobank recently had a special slot at ROSE2018, at female thought leadership conference organised by Astro Awani to focus on women in agriculture. In addition, Agrobank also has a special category in the annual awards ‘Anugerah Agroprenuer Agrobank (AAA)” to celebrate and honour women in agriculture since 2016.
“For the year 2017, Agrobank has approved the total amount of financing of RM676 million or 23.4% from total financing approved to 11,399 women agropreneur. This year we hope to encourage more women agropreneurs. At Agrobank, we are not only providing financing to entrepreneurs but we nurture them with various programmes to ensure that they succeed in the field which they pursue in. We believe that at a time when women’s voices are rising around the world, this is the right time to support this movement through a rich diversity of initiatives, celebrating their achievements, opportunities and potential,” she added.
Last year, Agrobank launched the Agro Teras, micro financing programme to help entrepreneurs from the bottom 40% of household income (B40) involved in agriculture & agro-based business. This programme provides funding in phases using peer-model group, starting with the lowest financing of RM1,000 later being gradually increases up to RM30,000 based on the applicant’s affordability & records.
Puan Masaat added, “As at February 2018, a total of 1,181 agropreneurs have registered under this programme and 95% of the agropreneurs are women from rural areas including Sabah & Sarawak. With targeted financing such as this, Agrobank not only support new and expanding micro business, but also encourage further involvement of women in agriculture and agro-based industry.