JOHOR BARU: The Government will continue with its research and development (R&D) activities and related programmes to increase productivity in the rubber industry.
Deputy Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Noriah Kasnon said the target was to produce 2,000kg of natural rubber for per one hectare of land by 2020.
She said if the target was achievable, Malaysia is expected to produce two million tonnes of rubber annually and the figure was enough to support the downstream activities.
“The rubber industry will increase in the gross domestic product (GDP) to RM52.9bil by 2020 through export of rubber products,” Noriah said on Saturday.
She said this at the launch of the Malaysian Rubber Board (MRB) Licensing and Permit Regulations 2014, at Persada Johor International Convention Centre.
Noriah said statistics revealed rubber and rubber-based products generated RM33.73bil for the country’s export revenue in 2013, employing 870,000 workers including 448,000 rubber smallholders.
She said the rubber industry had been able to provide jobs especially in the rural areas with the commercialisation of rubber plantation in 1896.
“We also encourage smallholders to plant high quality clones of rubber trees for the replanting schemes to ensure they will get good returns in the long run,” said Noriah.
She said the rubber industry was not without challenges and problems including declining of prices of natural rubber in the world market.
Noriah said to mitigate the problem, the Government would allocate an initial fund of RM100mil for smallholders as the incentive for them to continue producing natural rubber.
Meanwhile, MRB director-general Datuk Dr Salmiah Ahmad said Malaysia had maintained its position as the leading R&D on natural rubber in the world.
“R&D activities are important to ensure that the country will continue to produce high quality natural and synthetic rubber for the global market,” she said.
Salmiah said apart from focusing on the R&D activities, MRB would encourage and assist smallholders to produce high quality natural rubber without reducing the quantity needed by the country.