UniKL empowers Sabah youth in growing seaweed industry
Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL), in a significant stride towards promoting youth entrepreneurship and advancing the seaweed industry, has been selected among six universities to receive a substantial fund of RM300,000.
This fund has been provided through a combination of sources, including the zakat and ‘wakalah’ allocation from Bank Pertanian Malaysia Berhad (Agrobank), contributions from strategic corporate partners, and matching grants from iTEKAD by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM).
This initiative falls under the ambit of the Program Pembangunan Belia Tani Di Kalangan Siswazah (PROBEST). Within this framework, a cohort of six enterprising youth entrepreneurs has been carefully chosen from the region, with a focus on individuals belonging to the Asnaf and B40 categories.
Scheduled to commence in October of this year, the project is slated to span over a period of 12 months, according to the project leader from UniKL Malaysian Institute of Chemical and Bioengineering Technology (UniKL MICET), Dr. Siti Noorain Roslan.
“The programme promises to equip graduates with not only financial support and training but also mentorship and invaluable networking opportunities,” she said.
The official inauguration of the PROBEST programme took place on the 16th of August, 2023, at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM).
The ceremony saw the presence of the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, YB Datuk Seri Haji Mohamad Sabu and received active participation from representatives of the ministry, Agrobank, and the six participating universities.
The roots of this collaborative research endeavour can be traced back to 2021 when UniKL MICET initiated a partnership with Ocean Blue Agro Sdn. Bhd.
The focus was on the development of seaweed cultivation techniques and innovative systems for enhancing product recovery.
Given the promising economic and environmental prospects of seaweed industries, UniKL and Ocean Blue Agro are jointly dedicated to further exploration of the untapped potential within the realm of seaweed.
The fruits of this collaboration are anticipated to usher in novel technologies that enhance the sustainability and efficiency of the seaweed industry.
As part of this programme, UniKL will provide essential equipment and training, thereby fortifying the skills of these emerging young seaweed farmers.
UniKL and its collaborating universities will provide mentorship and guidance during the initial six months of the programme.
The subsequent six months will be dedicated to a supervision phase facilitated by Agrobank, a pioneering company in the sector, in conjunction with the participating universities.
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