Minister: Rubber smallholders can plant more lucrative crops

Ismail Sabri (centre) helping a senior citizen Mai Selamah Adam, 80, pushing the wheelbarrow at the smallholders’ meeting. – Bernama

BERA: The Government will allow smallholders to plant alternative crops due to the low price of rubber.

Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said those who applied for the replanting programme because of the age of their rubber trees, could apply for their land to be used for other commercial crops including durian.

Ismail Sabri said other possible crops include mushrooms, chillies and crops which are in high demand.

“This is ideal for those waiting for their rubber trees to reach the allowed tapping period,” he said, adding this would give them an additional source of income while waiting for the price of rubber to stabilise.Ismail Sabri said the government had allocated some RM90mil for alternative programmes to provide these smallholders with an additional source of income.

About 50,000 of them are expected to benefit.“We have set up a Special Committee on the matter as we want them to be able to earn a decent living."Some RM42mil from the amount will be set aside for rubber tappers who are working on land which they don’t own.“While for Risda participants, the money will be used to enable them to plant mushrooms or rear cows," Ismail Sabri said after meeting Risda smallholders and launching their cooperative here.

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