The adage that people are the most important assets of an organisation is perhaps overused. It may lull us into complacency and contentment that could lead to these ‘assets’ remain unattended, undeveloped and uninspired. At BERNAS, we take our people seriously. We adopt a corporate philosophy that values our employees and emphasises on the development of human resource.
Human Resource Development
We believe that a well-trained workforce with a sense of dedication and belonging is vital to our aspiration of becoming a high performing company. We have therefore embarked on a structured approach to enable our people to acquire knowledge and skills as well as professionalism that would enhance their service to the organisation. A significant financial allocation has been made available to provide a comprehensive range of training and manpower development. Given the diverse nature of our business, the training programmes cover a broad spectrum ranging from induction programmes, courses to enhance functional and technical skills and rice management workshops for those at entry and mid-level positions to leadership and change management programmes to those at the managerial level.
A Conducive Work Environment
While we value hard work and dedication, we want our people to strike a good balance between work and play.
Kelab BERNAS Malaysia (KBM), which is the Group’s sports and recreation club, has its affiliates in every region where we operate. Programmes organised by KBM included futsal matches, inter-club bowling and badminton tournaments and subsidised company trips to foreign destinations.
Since 2009, our employees are empowered to assess their performance and competency goals. During the biannual performance appraisals, employees have been able to renew and manage their annual objective and performance online before the year end appraisal.
Occupational Safety and Health
We place very high priority in looking after the safety and health of our people. To this end, it is imperative that a safe and conducive working environment be created to enable them to grow, progress and excel. Our Employee Occupational Safety and Health Division conducted the annual safety and health campaign in 2012 to create awareness on occupational safety and health (OSH) and risk prevention throughout the Group’s Kilang Beras BERNAS (KBB). While we have succeeded in substantially reducing workplace accidents, our final objective is to achieve Zero-Accident target by enforcing a stringent set of operational controls for more effective risk management.
Marketplace Development +
In terms of marketplace, our CSR objective is to adhere to the highest standards of corporate governance by operating with integrity, transparency and accountability to enhance shareholder value and achieving sustainable growth. We abide by the principles of honesty and professionalism in all our business dealings.
It is worthy to note that we have a rather unique status in the marketplace. One as a public listed company answerable to the expectations of shareholders and another as an organisation of national service entrusted with the responsibilities of ensuring rice sufficiency and security at stable prices to the nation at all time.
BERNAS is honoured to be identified as the organisation to implement two of the 16 Entry Point Projects (EPP) under the National Key Economic Area (NKEA) for Agriculture Sector with triple objectives of increasing paddy production, boosting the income of farmers and achieving national food security. Under EPP 10 which was launched in October 2011, BERNAS collaborated with Muda Agricultural Development Authority (MADA) to transform small scale farming activities into larger scale operations using the sustainable practices, intensification of irrigation facilities and high yield MR219 and MR229 varieties to move the farmers up the value chain. In EPP 11, BERNAS was appointed as the anchor company to develop paddy farms in Batang Lupar, Sri Aman, Sarawak.
Two years after BERNAS-MADA collaboration under EPP 10, some 3,028 farmers have signed up to participate in land amalgamation scheme involving 10,000 hectares. For EPP 11 at Batang Lupar, a pilot project involving 77 hectares was launched in August 2011. In February 2012, the project celebrated its inaugural harvest of 3.8 MT per hectare.
BERNAS’s team of qualified and experienced inspectors conduct audits on all rice supplies to ensure they meet stringent quality requirements stipulated in the Rice (Grade and Price Control) Amendment Order 2008. Our laboratory also conducts analysis on rice samples to ensure they meet the standards of ISO 13690 and ISO 7301.
Community Development +
It has long been a tradition for BERNAS to support various charitable organisations and worthy causes throughout the country. During exceptional events like floods and other natural calamities, we render assistance by donating rice and other food supplies to the victims.
Program Rakan Ladang (PRL)
Traditionally, paddy farming has been labelled as a poorman’s sector plagued by a multitude of problems including uneconomic farm size averaging only two hectares, low yields, rising costs of production and decreasing profitability. BERNAS stepped in since 2008 with Program Rakan Ladang (PRL) to redress some of these problems.
The PRL is a strategic pact between BERNAS, Government Agencies and farmers working together to improve yields and the quality of paddy produced to achieve the two goals of raising the income of farmers and bringing the nation closer towards achieving a higher self-sufficiency level inrice production. Since its launch, BERNAS has played an important role in educating paddy farmers on the deployment of good agriculture practices, environmental protection and management techniques.
The granary area of Kedah and Perlis accounted for 55% of local paddy. Farmers in this area are plagued with many challenges which include limited funding and infrastructure, poverty and old age. Through coordinated efforts, BERNAS is using the PRL as a platform to promote greater efficiency in the supply chain and to enhance productivity and crop quality. Farmers are also introduced to the latest technology and are given interest-free financing assistance of up to 100% to cover planting costs. To date some 42,000 farmers have benefited from the PRL programme.
During the year, BERNAS through its Entrepreneur Development and Research Department organised training for Bumiputra rice wholesaler under the Program Bumiputera BERNAS (PBB) to share knowledge on the operation of Rice Processor and Packer Machine at all key zones. The wholesalers also participated in seminars on accounting and financial management, marketing and productivity.
Living in a multi-cultural and multi-racial society like what we have in Malaysia, the Group has the opportunity to celebrate the many festivals with staff and invited guests. For example, our subsidiary Beras Corporation Sdn Bhd (BCSB), held an Open House in conjunction with Hari Raya Aidil Fitri in Sabah and Sarawak which helped to strengthen our relationships with key state leaders, government officials, customers and suppliers.
One of the key pillars under our CSR programme is education. It is through education that we are able to groom our future generations who may turn out to be new leaders or captains of industry.
In this regard, we continued to lend our support to the Albukhary International University (AIU) which is established as a waqf (eternal charity) and funded by the Albukhary Foundation.
We also appreciate our farmers by providing educational support programmes for their children's schooling needs through intensive courses and extra classes.
Environment Preservation +
As our business is closely associated with natural resources, giving back to nature through responsible environment stewardship has been our corporate dictum. The Group will continue to make progress towards that objective by implementing the following initiatives:
Adopting best practices across our value chains to reduce our carbon foot-print.
Improving overall energy efficiency in all mills, reducing wastage across its operations and recycling operational by-products wherever economically viable. BERNAS’s mills have been using rice husks as a bio-fuel substitute for drying paddy and also as animal feed.
Increasing use of advanced seed-treatment technology to replace agro-chemicals for crop cultivation in our PRL programme. BERNAS is determined to improve its dedication to preserving the environment. Through these and other initiatives we hope to promote healthier and greener environment for the benefits of our stakeholders and our future generations.