The second Permanent Food Production Park (TKPM), covering an area of 12.14 hectares (ha), will be developed in Machap, Alor Gajah at the latest by early next year, said Melaka Rural Development, Agriculture and Food Security Committee chairman Dr Muhamad Akmal Saleh.

He said this new TKPM after the one in Selandar, Jasin is expected to benefit over 1,000 fishermen whose incomes from fishing have been affected, due to various factors such as sea reclamation activities and soil erosion.

"We will divide the TKPM into three areas, each estimated to be about 4.05 ha and these will be given to the fisherman's association in Melaka.

"At the park, the group can carry out agricultural activities to earn additional income as their (fishermen) daily livelihood has been increasingly affected," he told reporters after officiating at the myAP dan myKP Entrepreneurs Carnival) here today.

He said the government-owned land is being cleared before a tender is opened to fishermen to rent at a price of around RM1,000 per year for an area of 4.05 ha.

He said the land can be cultivated with various agricultural crops such as banana or maize, with the proceeds from the sale of the crops entirely going to the fishermen.

Dr Muhamad Akmal said fishermen involved will be given guidance and training on farming by the relevant department or agency in addition to assistance in terms of seedlings or saplings.

"We hope this initiative will help them be more competitive, that is to be able to be involved in agriculture instead of depending entirely on fishing activities," he said

In another development, he said affected fishermen will also be helped to obtain a boat licence from the Marine Department to ferry passengers to the Melaka Marine Park which includes the three islands of Pulau Undan, Pulau Nangka and Pulau Dodol.

He also said the move could also provide better services to visitors to the Melaka Marine Park which is now open to the public in addition to preparations for the Visit Melaka Year 2024 (TMM 2024).

"The Melaka Marine Park is open on the last 12 days of each month as the calmer water conditions during that period is suitable for scuba divers to see the coral reefs on the seabed of these three islands.

"Currently, visitors to the marine park can board a boat at Umbai Jetty as well as the Melaka Marine Public Jetty, and we are looking at the need to open another jetty as a place for tourists to board boats," he added.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency