Hot weather also affects farmers, rubber smallholders' yields

KUALA LUMPUR: The heatwave phenomenon in the country not only restricts the daily activities of the public but has also affected the yield of farmers and rubber smallholders, especially in Jempol (Negri Sembilan) and Padang Terap (Kedah), which had recorded level one (alert) weather status.

Fifty-two-year-old Jamal Borhan, who has a rubber plantation in Jempol, said the current hot weather caused a lot of rubber tree leaves to fall and reduced latex, which affected production and, thus, affected his income.

"Previously one could get 100 to 200 kg of rubber a week, now it has reduced to almost half. Usually, when I tap rubber early in the morning, I can get a lot of latex but now not so much.

"Sales profit have plummeted by 40 to 50 per cent due to the hot weather over the past few weeks and this has affected income,” he told Bernama on Friday (May 5).

Jamal said that previously he could earn between RM800 and RM900 per week from his 1.2-hectare rubber plantation, but could only make RM500 now due to the "extraordinarily” hot weather.

Meanwhile, 58-year-old Norzila Borhan, who plants vegetables in Felda Palong, admitted that the quantity and quality of her greens, including chillies, green mustards and eggplants, have also been affected by the current heatwave.

"When the weather is hot, the vegetables also have problems, a lot of them don’t grow although some can withstand the heat. I see some trees don’t grow properly, the leaves turn yellow and so on. So, I have to water them frequently.

"Mine is just a small garden around the house and I sell my produce locally. But I can see the difference in terms of the amount and quality produced. Previously, floods destroyed our crops, now they are affected by hot weather,” she said.

In KEDAH, residents in the district of Padang Terap have described the current weather as "extremely hot”, especially at noon, compared to previous years.

Muhd Fikri Badarudin, 35, said that in the last few weeks, the extreme heat had resulted in them having to limit their outdoor activities.

"It’s even worse in the afternoon but, Alhamdulillah, sometimes it rains in the evening, so at least it is not so bad, although it’s still hot.

"During the Ramadan month, it felt a bit worse as we were fasting, but now it’s not so bad as we can drink water. But you can’t escape the heat in Padang Terap,” he said.

Despite the heatwave, the self-employed Muhd Fikri said residents continued to go about their daily activities, including holding open houses in conjunction with the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration.

Meanwhile, another resident, 42-year-old Mohd Yuszairi Mad Hidin views the hot weather in the district as being risky for senior citizens and children, adding that they should refrain from many outdoor activities.

"From what I can see, fewer children are playing in the park now. Awareness among parents is important for them to monitor their children during this heatwave to avoid any untoward incidents,” he said.

On Thursday, the Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department said it had identified 406 hotspots nationwide via satellite and, so far, a level one hot weather status had been detected in Padang Terap and Jempol.- Bernama

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