RM192mil allocated to help Risda-registered smallholders, says deputy minister

PONTIAN: RM192mil has been allocated to assist smallholders registered under the Rubber Industries Smallholders Development Authority (Risda) through the rainy season, says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Jeck Seng (pic).

The Deputy Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister said that the aid of RM300 a month would be given for two months to smallholders with a rubber plantation that is less than 2.5ha.

"The Bantuan Musim Tengkujuh (Rainy season aid) initiative has been done by the government for years where smallholders would receive the aid at the end of each year during the rainy season,” said Wee.

He added that the aid would be channelled in November and December this year,

Wee said this at a press conference on Sunday (Oct 24) after handing over 10,000 Covid-19 test kits from the Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad (KLK) company to the Tanjung Piai community.

He said that the rainy season aid was to help reduce the burden of the rubber smallholders that are affected the most during the rainy season.

On a separate matter, Wee said that the plan to increase the floor price of scrap rubber from RM2.50 to RM3.50 per kg is still being studied.

"The ministry is aware of the plan, which aims to increase the income of rubber smallholders.

However, the plan needs to be studied thoroughly before carrying it forward. We also need to look into the government's financial situation," he said.

On Oct 15, Risda chairman Datuk Mohd Salim Mohd Sharif reportedly said that the present floor price of scrap rubber at RM2.50 per kg was far lower than oil palm, which could fetch up to RM1,100 per tonne.

He urged the government to consider raising the floor price of scrap rubber to RM3.50 per kg beginning next January to help increase the income of rubber tappers to above the poverty level.

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