KUALA LUMPUR: Even with subsidies, small plots of land will not be profitable if they are not run professionally, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (pic).
The Prime Minister said merging smaller plots of land to create a bigger estate would not be detrimental to small-time farmers.
He said that they would remain as landowners and rake in profits according to the land size contributed.
"We have started with padi farmers and a few of them have already agreed.
If you do it (rubber and oil palms) on a small scale, you cannot make profits. For fruits and vegetables, however, smaller farms can be sufficient," said Dr Mahathir.
He said that the merging of small farms was already being done in Langkawi, Kedah.
Dr Mahathir was speaking to the media after officiating the 22nd biannual general meeting of the Malaysian National Small Farmers' Association in Ampang on Thursday (Oct 17).
Earlier in his speech, he said management should be done by specialised plantation managers.
"Landowners will continue to be owners but their share will be according to their plots of land.
"A director's board of land owners and independent managers have to check the management of the plantation a few times a year to ensure owners get due profits," said Dr Mahathir.
He also urged small-time farmers who have yet to apply for the Malaysian Palm Oil Sustainable certification to do so and for small time farmers to realise the importance of having a cooperative of their own.