By SHARIFAH KASIM: NST e-Media, 31 jan 2004 THE AgriTIGeR initiative, which is aimed to boost the local agriculture sector by enabling its community to trade online, will soon be rolled out nationwide following the successful implementation of a six-month pilot. Under the programme, each State is expected to replicate the implementation of the pilot exercise carried out in Batu Pahat, Johor. It will also involve other agencies such as the Farmers' Association of Malaysia, in addition to the initiative's two lead agencies, the Agriculture Department and Mimos Berhad. According to Raja Noor Ainin Raja Zainal Abidin, vice president for technology assimilation and deployment at Mimos, the rollout this year will likely take place in Pahang and Perak. The rollout, which is expected to be implemented through the Ninth Malaysia Plan, will ultimately cover every State. As part of its efforts to prepare for the rollout, Mimos is working on the enhancements for the AgriBazaar portal and the SCM (supply chain management) system used under AgriTIGeR, Raja Noor Ainin said. "We will add four new modules to the SCM system, which will be available through the portal in the third quarter. These modules will enable users to fully transact online," she told Computimes on Tuesday. The first new module is e-Payment, which will allow online payment of transactions to be carried out via the portal. It will leverage Jaring's e-payment system and also be integrated with financial institutions that cater to the agriculture community. E-Plan will enable farmers to plan their farming activities based on demand or forecasted demand for their yield while e-Make will allow small and medium-sized industries to manufacture their products based also on demand or forecasted demand for their products. The final module is e-Support, which will provide users of the portal and SCM system better customer management. According to Raja Noor Ainin, the development of AgriBazaar and the SCM system as well as implementation of the pilot in Batu Pahat cost about RM2.5 million, which came from allocation under the Eighth Malaysia Plan for projects that address the digital divide in the country. "The nationwide rollout of the project will be funded by the Agriculture Ministry," she said, adding that Mimos, as technology partner in the initiative, will hand over the portal and SCM system to the Ministry during the rollout. AgriBazaar currently offers three modules - e-Buy/Sell, which enables users to post offers and respond to them, negotiate and request for quotations, and make online offers; e-Logistic, which provides access lists of logistics service providers and online booking of logistics facilities; and e-Stock, which offers inventory management and updates on product and warehouse information. Some 400 categories of agriculture products are offered via the portal, which has managed to link about 700 farmers, producers, retailers and exporters in the agriculture production sector. A total of 30 per cent of registered users come from Johor while the rest are from other States and overseas. The pilot exercise of AgriTIGeR, which was launched last July, serves the agriculture community in Batu Pahat for their fruit and vegetable yields. The AgriBazaar Community Centre was later set up in the Agriculture Department's training centre in Batu Pahat to train its officers, who in turn trained farmers to use the portal and SCM system, developed in-house by Mimos on the open source platform. At present, users carry out only part of their transactions online such as listing of products and prices while other transactions such as price negotiation and payment are still carried out offline, said Raja Noor Ainin. "The challenge for us is to encourage them to fully utilise all modules available in the system."