By Noor Eszereen Juferi
Pic by Noor Azreen Awang
SERDANG, 30 May (UPM) – About 100 students of Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) were taught the know-how to pursue a career in modern agriculture after sweating it out for a season of farming under the watchful eyes of their lecturers and mentors.
The four-month long Agricultural Entrepreneur Programme 2013 that kicked off last February had trained 98 students at the UPM farm, giving them the hands-on experience and confidence to venture out, after their graduation, for a livelihood in agro-business or agro-entrepreneurship.
The training session ended today with a prize-giving ceremony for the winners of the different categories where they also set up stalls to sell their produce and products in a carnival to showcase their “sweat and tears”.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, UPM’s Deputy Vice Chancellor (Student Affairs and Alumni) Prof. Dr. Mohammad Shatar Sabran told these students that they should made the most out of the knowledge and experience gained from the training programme to pursue their career and livelihood after their graduation.
“The programme gives recognition and accelerates the process of producing agro- entrepreneurs, apart from producing more skilled workforce from among the younger generations, ” he said at the ceremony at Dewan Pertanian, Faculty of Agriculture, UPM.
In addition, through hands-on experience in farm practices that included lessons on farm management, disease control, post harvesting practices and direct marketing, one could be expected to be competent in managing a business project that was more organized and lucrative, he added.
Meanwhile, team Kolam 5 walked away with top prize with RM500 cash, challenge trophy, gift hamper and participation certificates. They also won the Tilapia Farming category.
Team Teduhan 4 with their Rock Melon Fertigation project came out top under the Plantation Category, while team Reban 5 won the free range or “ayam kampung” farming category. For the orchard plantation category, the top prize went to Ladang Tanaman 2 team.
Leader for the Kolam 5 team, Muhammad Farhan Abdullah, said his tilapia project undertaken with 8 other team members, had to face many obstacles, one being the death of the tilapia frys because of the weather.
“Initially, we had set a target to breed 1,200 tilapias but we could only manage to raise 700 before selling them off at the MARDI Agro-Market and surrounding housing areas in Serdang,” he said.
The competition, which started in February this year for a semester (4 months) comprised students who are taking the Agricultural and Agribusiness Entrepreneurship courses. They were supervised by their lecturers, consultants and technical support staff. -- UPM
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