A marketing agency will be established to help rural entrepreneurs tap into local and international markets, says Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He said the proposed marketing agency would provide advice and assistance in marketing rural products.
“It can promote smart-sharing among rural entrepreneurs and various interest groups, including the private sector to widen networking, expand the supply chain and penetrate the export market,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said this in a video recording played at the opening of the five-day Rural Entrepreneurship Carnival at the compound of the Palace of Justice here on Saturday (Oct 19)
The carnival at Presint 3 ends on Oct 21.
Dr Mahathir added that plans are in the pipeline to promote a culture of entrepreneurship through training and apprenticeships in existing businesses and industries.
“Rural entrepreneurs should enhance their competitiveness by utilising machines and adopting technology. By using machines, productivity can be increased, the cost of operations could be reduced and quality consistency can be assured,” he said.
Dr Mahathir added that field of entrepreneurship has been proven to be effective in improving the socio-economic status of the rural community, and bridge the rural-urban income gap, apart from creating job opportunities.
He also said that those who continue enhancing their competitiveness and improving the quality of their products may succeed in penetrating the global market, and added that some entrepreneurs have already succeeded in penetrating the global market.
Several strategies have been implemented to help rural entrepreneurs capture the domestic market and eventually penetrate the global market.
“(But) we need to take into consideration setbacks faced by the target groups because of differences in environment and economic background,” he said.
Dr Mahathir added that the government has allocated RM200mil for the retail and wholesale industry, as part of its initiative to promote the culture of entrepreneurship.
He said that the funds could be used to buy premises, and subsequently lease the units to small and medium enterprises belonging to bumiputra.
Dr Mahathir then said that another RM100mil is allocated to provide loans for young rural entrepreneurs, while another RM52mil is allocated for various entrepreneurship programmes and agro-based industry training to promote youth participation in the agro-food sector.
He added that the government’s initiative to produce as many rural entrepreneurs would not yield the desired results if there was lack of participation and interest in grabbing the opportunities created.
Dr Mahathir also said that rural entrepreneurs must be willing to work hard to boost their income, adding that they must also work towards improving the quality of their products to successfully penetrate the domestic and global markets.
He also said that the Rural Development Ministry had identified rural entrepreneurship as one of its key thrusts in the Rural Development Policy 2030, adding that it has taken the right step to promote the culture of entrepreneurship among rural folk, specifically among women and youths.
Dr Mahathir also said that this is part of the initiatives drawn to bridge the urban-rural income gap, in line with the Shared Prosperity Vision (WKB) 2030 that emphasise on equatability of outcomes, among others.