JOHOR BAHRU: The RM200 monthly assistance under the BUDI MADANI initiative demonstrates that the Unity Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is concerned about smallholders.

For chili farmer Mohd Fauzi Mohamad Sedek, 50, this assistance indirectly helps reduce operational costs, particularly those involving fuel usage.

“We are aware that engaging in agricultural activities, even on a small scale, requires significant operational costs, such as for fertilisers, pest control, and others.

“So, with this RM200 monthly assistance, it can help reduce operational costs. Although the amount is not large, it nonetheless boosts our morale to continue working on the land,“ he told Bernama when contacted today.

However, Mohd Fauzi, who has been cultivating chili in Batu Pahat since 2021, hopes that government agencies involved in the BUDI MADANI initiative will come down to the ground and meet with small-scale farmers like himself.

“My hope is that small-scale farmers who are eligible for this assistance receive complete exposure and guidance on how to apply,“ said Mohd Fauzi, who grows 4,000 chili plants on a 1.31-hectare plot of land.

Another farmer, Roslee Ismail, 53, who grows pineapples, hopes the application process for the BUDI MADANI assistance can be simplified to achieve its intended goals.

“The Department of Agriculture in each state surely has the personal data of every farmer. It would be easier if this assistance is channelled through the relevant government agency to prevent any eligible farmers from being left out.

“This effort can be implemented not only at the state level but also at the district and zonal levels throughout the country,“ said the former engineer who began cultivating the cash crop in Kampung Lepau, Pengerang, Kota Tinggi, since 2006.

Meanwhile, for vegetable farmer Hairin Adam, 53, he hopes physical counters can be opened to facilitate the BUDI MADANI applications, especially in rural areas.

“I’m not tech savvy, therefore, I hope that physical counters with the guidance of an officer can help people like me in making applications,“ said Hairin, who cultivates various types of vegetables in Felda Nitar 2, Mersing.

Budi MADANI is an initiative by the government to ensure subsidies are provided to the eligible groups.

Registration for BUDI MADANI opened on May 28 via, with no closing date set for applications.