The Malaysian Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda) has allocated RM 132 million to replant old rubber land with superior, high-yielding clones to give smallholders better yields and higher incomes.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Yahya Hussin lauded Risda’s replanting scheme covering a total of 42,260 acres.
“Risda’s replanting programme is set to boost the state’s rubber production by introducing a high quality rubber clone that can double yields to over two tonnes per hectare within a year,” he said.
Speaking at the Risda Sabah Smallholders Seminar yesterday, Yahya urged smallholders to improve productivity by adopting best practices in planting, fertilizing and harvesting to produce high-yielding and quality natural latex, which fetches a high price at overseas markets.
“This important and timely replanting programme is in line with the State Government’s commitment to turn Sabah into the largest rubber producer in the country,” he said.
Yahya added the initiative is a major step forward in modernising the rubber industry, which provides an immense opportunity for smallholders who make up the majority of the country’s rubber cultivators.
During his speech, Yahya expressed satisfaction with the progress of the rubber-replanting programme carried out by Risda Sabah, which has received positive response from smallholders in the state including in the east coast.
“Although we commonly associate the east coast with oil palm, smallholders have also gone into rubber cultivation,” he said.
Sabah Risda Director Haji Omar Hasan disclosed plans to expand its Rubber Replanting program and has recently approved an additional RM98 million to develop another 7,000 hectares in Sabah next year.
“Risda also plans to extend new support services for individual smallholders involved under the rubber replanting scheme,” he said.
Under the new initiative, smallholders will receive numerous benefits which include insurance cove worth RM2,000 for smallholders aged between 18-70 years old who may pass away due to accident and illness; RM 500 price mitigation aid for smallholders registered with Risda and a living away allowance scheme for smallholders who participate in the replanting prgramme.
“So far, over 20,000 smallholders have benefited from the various training programmes provided by Risda, and 5,000 smallholders have participated in the replanting scheme which covers some 42,000 acres.