KUCHING, May 28 (Bernama) — Entrepreneurship, viewed as a driving force for economic growth, will become another alternative strategy for rural development, especially to reduce poverty, Sarawak Planning and Resource Management Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said on Saturday.
He noted that the importance of agriculture and industrialisation in promoting rural development could not be denied, with the diversification of rural economic activities through the promotion of non-farming enterpreneurial activities being somewhat overwhelming in past years.
“Looking back at various government strategies being implemented to promote rural development and tackle the problem of poverty, we have to admit that Malaysia has successfully achieved the objective of reducing the incidence of poverty,” he said while officiating at the International Conference of Rural Development and Entrepreneurship (ICORE) 2011 being held here.
He said the reduction of poverty levels from 49.3 percent in 1970 to 3.8 percent in 2009 was, in fact, a huge success.
With the development of rural industries, including the Second Outline Perspective Plan (1991-2000) aimed at raising the living standards of rural communities, the new entrepreneurs were expected to flourish and contribute more towards the betterment of the rural population.
Awang Tengah said much attention has also been paid to the food sector as a promising industry that encouraged downstream activities to increase the linkages between agriculture and manufacturing sectors and improve marketing and exporting strategies in the new National Agriculture Policy.
Rural development has been, and would continue to be, an important agenda in any development policy of countries around the globe, including Malaysia, since the rural sector was pivotal to economic growth, as well as political and social development, he said.
On the conference, jointly organised by Universiti Utara Malaysia and the Chief Minister’s Department’s Bumiputera Entrepreneur Department Unit, he hoped it would be a platform where participants from India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Europe, as well as Malaysia, could meet and discuss current issues and new ideas on rural development and entrepreneurship.
The conference was also expected to see participants share their country’s unique experiences and research findings, especially in promoting sustainable rural development, he said.