KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 26 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak wants three ministries related to smallholders and commodities to boost cooperation to ensure the growth of the national commodity industry.
The Prime Minister said the ministries involved are the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities, Rural and Regional Development Ministry and the International Trade and Industry Ministry.
“God willing, I believe the cooperation will ensure price stability, boost contributions of the commodity industry to national export, and most important of all, to ensure and protect the welfare of smallholders nationwide,” said Najib in his latest jottings at www.najibrazak.com, his official blog, today.
Najib said the government was aware that last year was a challenging year for smallholders due to the uncertainty of the global market and unstable commodity prices.
“I am also aware there are those among the opposition who had come forward to give ideas and suggestions such as introducing a ground price for rubber or a regular monthly income.
“Such ideas are populist in nature for short term solutions but will not benefit in the long term,” he said.
Najib said the government was not only taking short term measures such as giving incentives but long term measures via exploring international markets to boost the value and prices of Malaysian commodities.
The Prime Minister said during his visit to China and discussions with President Xi Jinping, he had voiced Malaysia’s desire for China to resume as the biggest importer of palm oil from Malaysia, other than touching on other commodities like rubber.
“Thank god, the meeting had paved the way for boosting demand from China for us to resume as the biggest exporter of commodities such as rubber and palm oil to the country,” said Najib.
Najib said the government had always endeavoured to ensure the welfare and income of smallholders was protected.
“In the 2017 Budget, I announced an allocation of RM100 million to boost the quality of products and oil palm planting other than upgrading plantation roads.
Another RM286 million to boost the production of palm oil, cocoa, chili and rubber for export.
“We also provided a RM280 million grant to encourage investments in downstream industries and produce goods of higher quality, which will definitely boost demand for raw palm oil,” Najib added.
According to Najib, as an additional step to ensure income of smallholders continued to be stable and not overly affected with the rise of the world commodity market prices, the government via the Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority, (RISDA) had allocated RM27 million to implement programmes to boost the income of smallholders.
“The programmes will benefit 500,000 smallholders nationwide via additional economic and entrepreneurship activities such as producing kelulut honey, oyster mushrooms and growing pineapple, banana and others,” he said. — Bernama