Friday, 30 Oct 2020
SOUTHERN
17/10/2020 11:03 AM

By Kamarul Halim M Kamal

BATU PAHAT, Oct 17 -- For a group of single mothers in Parit Ya’ani, here, holding the status of single mothers is not considered a barrier, rather it has encouraged them to succeed in cultivating chillies using the fertigation method.

In fact, the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) period due to the COVID-19 pandemic has benefitted six single mothers, prompting them to become entrepreneurs by planting chillies.

Asmah Kassim, head of the Chilli Plantation Fertigation Project of the Pertubuhan Ibu Tunggal Kebangsaan Malaysia, Sri Gading parliamentary constituency, Parit Ya’ani Zone, said the idea to grow chillies started at the beginning of the year, but it was thwarted due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Asmah, who is also the chairman of the organisation, in collaboration with the Darul Ta’zim Family Development Foundation (YPKDT), said the project was finally successfully realised in early August with the initial planting of 500 plants.

"In the last two months, our crop yield reached up to 60 kilogrammes (kg) with the first harvest exceeding the target of around 35 to 50kg," she told Bernama when met recently.

She said the market price of chillies is around RM18 to RM25 per kg, according to the grade. To some extent, this crop project can help those (single mothers) who, on average, have school-going children.

She said, according to the target, the chilli plant can be harvested every 10 days and the harvest will be able to reach up to 100kg for one harvest, for the second harvest, and so on.

"We are also grateful for the guidance from YPKDT, especially at the Batu Pahat district level, as well as, the consultants appointed for providing guidance to us from the beginning until today," she said.

The project has given a ray of hope for Zurinah Taib, who has eight children, as she can now earn an income rather than having to rely in the past entirely on her ex-husband.

"Four of my children are still in school, the youngest is six years old and the oldest is 27 years old.

"Alhamdulillah (Praise be to God)…after this chilli harvest, it (sales proceeds) can cover our family expenses," said the 48-year-old woman.

Meanwhile, YPKDT Batu Pahat administrative officer Siti Manisah Sidek said her team actually provided an allocation to the B40 group to venture into entrepreneurship through the community.

She said that the allocation, which started three years ago, has various branches of entrepreneurial assistance but after seeing that most of those who venture into this chilli planting are more successful, her team is now starting to focus on the chilli crop.

For this chilli fertigation project, YPKDT provides a starting capital of RM15,000 in the form of chilli seedlings, as well as, equipment to start the planting.

“We will also appoint consultants to guide the eligible community until they can successfully market the chilli products.

"However, the assistance from the YPKDT is more towards the early stage or the first planting process which serves as an incentive and guide for the B40 group to get out of difficulties, thus having an income," she said.

For the second and subsequent crops, it depends on the community itself after they have the capital from their previous crop harvest, so YPKDT’s guidance is around six to eight months.

-- BERNAMA

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