PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s resilient rubber industry is set to have a record year, with exports of the commodity exceeding the RM20bil target for this year.
Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong expressed confidence the target would be surpassed because rubber exports up to July, which totalled RM19.1bil, amounted to a 38.53% increase compared to the same period last year.
Mah said the total exports of the commodity in 2016 was RM18.1bil.
“I remember being asked earlier this year if we will be able to exceed RM20bil and I said we will,” he said when launching the Malaysian Rubber Export Promotion Council (MREPC) RM3mil Industrial Linkage Fund and Scholarship Award.
“The increased demand for rubber would mean the price of the commodity could go up and this will benefit smallholders,” he said, adding that there were some 450,000 rubber smallholders nationwide.
He said the Government had also set up the “Bantuan Musim Tengkujuh” fund (Aid during the rainy season) for smallholders whose livelihood may be affected due to the monsoon season.
Mah said rubber cannot be tapped during the rainy season and smallholders who registered could claim RM200 a month from November to January.
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