KUALA LUMPUR: Some 5,000km stretch of roads will have commercial trees planted on both sides to improve the lot of 500,000 Felda settlers.
The trees would be able to fetch RM150bil when they mature.
Felda chairman Tan Sri Dr Mohd Yusof Noor said the move was one of the strategies to maximise land usage to generate profit for settlers.
“We have identified pockets of under-utilised Felda land along highways and trunk roads in the peninsula and Sabah, to plant teak and rubber trees for the timber market.
“The profit generated will be channelled to social, welfare and development funds to help the settlers, who can also take part in the timber project to supplement their income,” he said.
Mohd Yusof said Felda could plant each kilometre with some 600 trees and when the three million teak trees matured in 15 years, the timber could fetch at least RM150bil.
He added that Felda would first discuss with the Agriculture Ministry and Forest Research Institute Malaysia on seedling supplies.
“The plan is also part of Felda diversification activities to reduce dependency on oil palm to generate income.
“Other commercial plants in mind include dragon fruit, which has high market demand and commercial value, and a piece of land in Sungai Tinggi, Selangor, will be allocated for it.
“We will also explore herbal products, such as tongkat ali, to fill the under utilised land,” he said, adding Felda has 808,000ha of land and half of that was run by Felda settlers while the other half was managed by the authority under plantation scheme.
The average net income of Felda settlers now is around RM1,000 depending on the market price of commodities.