PORT DICKSON: The Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda) plans to assist its smallholders and entrepreneurs market their products abroad, particularly to Italy, the US and China, next year.
Chairman Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin said several foods such as biscuits and stingless bee honey were being identified and contacts had been made with several parties abroad for the export market.
He said in order to facilitate the export, Risda would help ensure that the products were certified halal as only 300 of 11,740 Risda entrepreneurs nationwide had halal certification for their products.
“Risda will continue to help open up avenues for its smallholders and entrepreneurs to increase their income, and not relying only on rubber due to the volatile price,” he told reporters after meeting Risda public relations and community development personnel from Negri Sembilan on Thursday.
Zahidi said Risda had also sought MALAYSIA AIRPORTS HOLDINGS BHD’s and Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd’s help to provide outlets for Risda entrepreneurs to sell their products at the airports and railway stations.
Risda has also asked the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission to open more 1malaysia Internet Centres, especially in the rural areas where the smallholders resided.
“We have also asked for the centres be connected to high speed internet or 4G LTE network so that Risda entrepreneurs can market their products online and expand their market,” he said.
In another development, Zahidi said Risda would start planting Guarana (Brazilian cocoa) plants at its 2.02ha land in Seberang Prai, Penang, at year-end to offset falling rubber prices and provide additional income to the smallholders.
“The cultivation of banana, coconut and other cash crops had already been introduced by Risda to smallholders, but the crops are facing stiff competition in the local market.
“So, we hope Guarana will open new markets both locally and internationally,” he said.- Bernama