The fishing community of Kampung Mandahan, Papar, is set to receive a boost in its economic and societal well-being with a drying cabin project courtesy of Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) and Technology Park Malaysia Corporation Sdn Bhd. (TPM).
The drying cabin project was initiated by Bank Negara Malaysia under its Community Empowerment Programme (CEP), essentially a corporate social responsibility programme.
Conceptualised in March this year, its objective is to uplift low-income segments through provision of value chain assistance (communal infrastructure, guaranteed market) and the employment of financial services.
Meanwhile, TPM played the pivotal role of its social innovation initiative as the technology provider in building and developing appropriate technology to meet requirements of the Papar fishing community.
Speaking at the handover ceremony, Encik Zulkifli Fitri Ismail, TPM Vice-President for Group Business Development and Corporate Affairs, said Bank Negara Malaysia’s initiative and TPM’s social innovation capability had provided a channel for the economic empowerment of low-income segments through technological intervention by TPM and other agencies.
He said that prior to undertaking the Papar drying cabin project, a feasibility study was conducted to ensure its successful application not only in Sabah, but also throughout Malaysia.
“The results indicated the needs in uplifting the economic and societal well-being in Papar and in Kemaman, Terengganu, are more urgent compared to other areas. Hence, the Papar fishing community, which comprises some 50 fishermen, is the first to be given assistance in this drying cabin initiative,” he added.
In terms of the benefits, Zulkifli said the drying centre is expected to accelerate the drying time of anchovies from 70 hours to four (4) hours, while for fish it would be seven (7) hours. Thus, the worries of rainy weather during the monsoon season become a thing of the past. At the same time, it is far more hygienic and wastages are eliminated.
“Compared to the traditional process, the new drying cabin would enable the fishermen to enjoy higher quality of dried anchovies and fish. It also offers a larger capacity of up to 500 kg, or half-a-tonne, of anchovies to be dried at any one time.
“The impact of employing the drying cabin would enable each fisherman to increase his average monthly income from RM400 to RM1,200, which is three (3) folds compared to the traditional method.
“Additionally, the fishermen will enjoy continuous stream of income even during the rainy season. With the increased income, it enables the fishermen to eradicate poverty and enhance their living standard towards a more fulfilling life,” Zulkifli emphasised.
The Papar drying centre will be managed by the Papar Fishermen Community. Fishermen will be charged 40 sen for every kilogramme of anchovies for use of the drying centre.
Apart from the handover ceremony, BNM’s Agensi Kaunseling & Pengurusan Kredit (AKPK) and Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) representatives were also present to share and disseminate relevant information pertaining to financial literacy and services.
Technology Park Malaysia, an agency of the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC), has an integrated infrastructure, facilities and support services to assist technopreneurs and entrepreneurs who are keen to commercialize their ideas in the four industry clusters, namely, ICT, Engineering, Biotechnology and Green Technology.