New measures to help rubber holders affected by fall of rubber prices and the on-going dry spell

TEMERLOH: The government will introduce several short and long term measures to help out some 490,000 rubber small holders who are affected by the fall of rubber prices and the on-going dry spell.

Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said the ministry would discuss the issue with other ministries before submitting the proposal to the Cabinet.

Mohd Shafie said the proposal would include giving out cash assistance to the smallholders.

He said the rubber prices had significantly dropped in the world market, which had affected the smallholders and the Government had to help them out in reducing the impact of the fluctuating prices.

“We will help to reduce the impact to the smallholders pertaining to the rubber pricing, which is related with the world market not only for the short term, but also in the long run,” said Mohd Shafie after launching the national-level effective rubber tapping campaign at Kampung Purun integrated replanting scheme here.

It is learnt that the ministry and Risda would make the proposal for the one-off payment after the price of tyre-grade SMR20 rubber had dropped to RM5.99 per kg recently.

The present SMR20 price was much lower than the RM7.09 per kg recorded when the Government introduced the Rubber Price Fall Special Assistance (BKKH) last year.

For BKKH 1.0 last year, the Government had allocated RM160mil to assist more than 320,000 smallholders nationwide.

Shafie said the ministry would also encourage smallholders to increase productivity by utilising the best rubber tapping technique and increase the number of days they tap rubber.

He said the ministry had also encouraged smallholders to use the right fertilisers and latex inducing substance to improve productivity and prolong the lifespan of the rubber trees.

Shafie said the fall in rubber prices at the international market had also resulted in scrap rubber price at plantation to drop to only RM2.25 per kg.

Among the main factors for the continuous fall are the declining trend at the Tokyo Commodity Exchange, lower demand from China and extra output from Thailand and Indonesia.

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