The success of Mesilou Food Park (TKPM Mesilou) is hope for other underperforming TKPM projects across Sabah.
Despite not being the first project under the Permanent Food Park Program (Program Taman Kekal Pengeluaran Makanan (TKPM)), TKPM Mesilou is certainly one of the most successful ones.
The TKPM programme which was launched around 2010 aims to support innovative fruit and vegetable farming initiatives via the provision of basic infrastructure and grants from the government. It was also designed to establish secure food zones, thus helping improve accessibility to high-quality and fresh foods for the population.
But over the years, there have been complains that TKPM slots were awarded to non-farmers, non-locals and undeserving individuals who do not meet the application criteria, according to a source from the West Coast of Sabah.
Why or how did it happen? The same source said TKPM projects were filled by “cronies and family members or relatives of certain influential people”. He added that because those undeserving participants are not genuine farmers, “the TKPM slots end up wasted”.
“The slots are left idling. Nobody is using the plots. Roofs become leaking, plastic sheets becomig torn and the plots are full of grass.”
At TKPM Mesilou meanwhile, we met participant Shahrizal Denci who spearheads the site with seven others- Augustine Kiyat, Mohd Ishak Wajimin, Adzry Ridzwan, Khaleeda Maizura Kalimin, Koh Vui Yu, Rowelon Juil and Siti Asmie Binti Ratimin.
Sharizal DenciFrom the programme alone, Shahrizal and his #kartelkubis have transformed the 200 acres greenhouse into a continuously producing food hub, supplying tomatoes, Japanese cucumbers and capsicums across Sabah. They have also become the main produce distributor for Bataras, the largest supermarket chain in Sabah.
What is more impressive is, this #kartelkubis have done their work without running water or electricity. They acquired their own generators for electricity and connected their own gravity pipes for water. Today, they are raking in five-digit income consistently.
How did they achieve these? Well, through dedication, passion and hard work.
The success of TKPM Mesilau is a shining example for other TKPM projects to follow. The other three such projects are located at Penampang, Kinabatangan and Tawau respectively.
With basic infrastructure already set up, it merely takes a few dedicated and passionate individuals to take over those few TKPM projects.
If corrupt practices and undeserving participants are weeded, then the TKPM programmes throughout Sabah can reach its full potential.
Get genuine farmers and genuine locals to develop existing TKPM plots, and let real hard workers help TKPM soar to great heights.
It is entirely possible for the remaining TKPM projects to replicate the success of TKPM Mesilou in the near future.