By Azman Zakaria
Photo by Noor Azreen Awang
SERDANG: Livestock breeders in Batu Talam, Raub, are moving one step forward to becoming entrepreneurs, with at least half of the number of goat breeders in the sub-district is now showing the potential.
They rear not only goats but there are also those among them who have started diversifying their activities by going into cattle and chicken farming which have generated lucrative income.
This successful transformation is the result of continuous guidance and exposure by Universiti Putra Malaysia’s University Community Transformation Centre (UCTC) which took shape in 2011.
UCTC Director, Associate Professor Dr. Hawa ZE Jaafar said through an approach “Community Empowerment Programme for Goat Breeders”, UCTC invited experts to see and assist in developing goat breeding via a fund obtained from the Transfer of Expertise Programme.
“Actually, we went in there since 2010 but the actual works carried out with the Agriculture Faculty started a year later, that is in 2011.
“Initially, the breeders did not have that knowledge and expertise in goat breeding. So, we had to do trainings, transfer of knowledge and demonstrations where they were brought to see similar activities taking place at other breeding places.
“Some of the goat breeders in Batu Talam subdistrict in Raub, are now showing the characteristics of a good entrepreneur by breeding cattle and chickens, too,” she said in an interview.
At the start of the programme, she said there were only seven breeders but now the number had increased to 30, with between 10 and 15 being active ones, of whom three are showing the potential of becoming successful entrepreneurs.
She also said UPM UCTC mission in BatuTalam was to turn Raub into a Livestock Production Zone as the projects served under the UPM Flagship could be adopted and implemented in other districts.
Dr Hawa also said UCTC will be launching “propagation of Kacip Fatimah” programme in Hulu Langat, Selangor, to cope with the demand of the national herbal industry development.
The plant leaves will be used for the project, she said, adding that demand for the seedlings in Hulu Langat in 2013 stood at 150,000 but they could not be supplied.
She also said UCTC is also implementing “UPM-Green Fingers” programme aimed at promoting the growing interest of the local community in agriculture and Urban Agriculture programme.
Under the Urban Agriculture Programme, modern approaches will be used to revive agricultural activities in urban areas to suit with their surrounding environment, particularly through the planting of vegetables which could ease the high cost of living of each family as a recreational activity and enable neighbours to see face-to-face while carrying out planting at their house compound.
“We estimate that this can ease the cost of living between RM93 and RM155 every month for each family, or RM186 million for one year for 100 families,” she said.
UCTC, formerly known as Pusat Pengembangan Keusahawanan dan Pemajuan Professional (APEEC) was set up in 2013 with the objective of being a referral centre for community transformation, particularly in the development and boosting of agriculture, agro-based industries and biology sources at the national and international levels – UPM.