KUALA LUMPUR: Prudential Assurance Malaysia Berhad (PAMB), Prudence Foundation and Hopes Malaysia have established PRUCare Farming Sustainability Programme to empower 310 beneficiaries from 60 families in Kota Belud, Sabah.
The programme aims to develop small-scale farming techniques to improve food self-sufficiency while generating a sustainable income source for disadvantaged communities.
According to PAMB, today marked the closing ceremony of Phase One of the programme that started last February with RM270,000 in funding where the families were trained and given tools to start their own vegetable and fish farms while selling surplus produce.
In addition to improving food security, the families saw a marked increase in income at 55 per cent on average. Phase Two, which will involve 30 families in Kota Belud for one year, will begin on April 1 with a funding amount of RM120,000,” it said in a statement today.
Meanwhile, PAMB chief marketing and partnerships distribution officer Eric Wong said food security and income sources for many families were affected during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“As such, this programme’s goal is to help families not only improve their access to food and nutrition but also offer a second source of income in a sustainable manner that positively impacts their family and community for the long term,” he said in the same statement.
He said Prudential’s goal is to build financial resilience for disadvantaged families and children in Malaysia.
“By empowering communities with our partners, we ensure sustainable livelihoods that will gradually improve a family’s earnings and give the next generation an opportunity to break the cycle of poverty,” Eric added.
The PRUCare Farming Sustainability Programme includes three parts, namely to impart techniques and knowledge on how to maintain vegetable and fish farms; to provide high-demand seeds, fish fry and farming equipment as well as to provide platforms for farmers to sell their produce at markets.
Additionally, 22 volunteers comprising Prudential Wealth Planners invested 176 hours throughout the programme to help farmers prepare land for crops, set up fish tanks and sow seeds.
Kihin Gudan, 57, one of the project beneficiaries from Kampung Pinolobuh and who is the sole provider for her child, only earned around RM300 before joining the project.
Through the programme, she said she learned how to improve soil fertility and boost crop yield and managed to sell her harvests in local markets, boosting her family’s income to over RM3,000, up by 90 per cent a month.
“We can eat as many vegetables as we want now. We are never hungry. I couldn’t spend time making bags before, but now I have fewer worries,” said Kihin, who now can focus on producing crafts in addition to farming.
Duliam Kuliat, 62, of Kampung Bukid said the diet of her 11 family members has improved from the abundance of fish and crops, while also greatly reducing the amount spent on food each month.
She added that, through selling her surplus harvests, the family has earned up to 70 per cent more per month.
“Every month we can save a bit of money for emergencies or my children’s studies. I feel less stressed now if something happens in the future,” she said.