BETONG: The Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development (Manred) will come up with more income generating activities and programmes for farmers in the 2020 State Budget.

Its minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said among the programmes are getting farmers to diversify their crops.

He said pepper, rubber and oil palm farmers had suffered when the price of the commodities dropped in the market. Fishermen on the other hand could not go out to sea during the raining season.

“Hence, they must have alternative activities in order to have uninterrupted income flow,” he told reporters after officiating at a Petronas Corporate Social Responsibility project at SK St John at Nanga Tiga in Ulu Layar, yesterday.

Under the CSR project, Petronas spent more than RM1 million on upgrading the boarding house, science laboratory, toilets and other facilities.

Uggah commended Petronas for coming up with its CSR project in rural schools in the state which he said was a great boost to the government’s efforts in improving and upgrading some 1,000 dilapidated schools.

“As far as SK St John is concerned, it is like a dream come true for Betong MP Datuk Robert Lawson Chuat and myself.

“This is because the school is a mission school and we have been chipping in every now and then to help improve its facilities,” he said.

He said but the more significant thing about this function is that it presents to the ordinary rural folks of how rural students who have the determination and discipline and who take their studies seriously can do very well in life.

Uggah commended the managing director and chief executive officer of Petronas LNG 9 Sdn Bhd and Malaysia LNG Group of Companies Mohamed Syawan Abdullah@ Laga Jenggi who is an Iban from Ulu Roban. Mohamad Syawan who was present at the function had spent his childhood at the longhouse.

“He and a few others can be role models for our rural students,” he pointed out.

Uggah also said beginning next year more motivational courses would be organised for rural students here in the effort to spur them towards educational excellence.

He advised parents to continue to send their children to boarding schools where the environment was more conducive for them to do well in their studies.