PONTIAN, July 11 — The Primary Industries and Commodities Ministry will come up with a suitable integrated farming model to enable rubber smallholders to earn extra income rather than just depending on their main harvest.
Deputy Minister Datuk Seri Wee Jeck Seng said the model, currently being worked on with several parties, was not expected to burden the smallholders as incentive assistance would be provided.
The assistance includes soft loans, management and the purchase of products by foreign companies at reasonable prices to provide the smallholders with lucrative income.
“Among the integrated crops proposed are pineapple and mushroom. This is important as a rubber tapper’s income can be erratic, currently at around RM1,000 for each acre.
“We also know that rubber can only be tapped during specific months of the year depending on the weather. So there’s a need to find an alternative source of income,” the Tanjung Piai Member of Parliament told reporters after chairing a special meeting on the issue of flooding at his community service centre here.
On the flash floods, Wee expressed hope that the government would upgrade the drainage system which was built in the 1970s to prevent the frequent flash floods at his Tanjung Piai constituency.
“Just this month alone (July) there have been two incidences of flooding which affected more than 1,000 families in this parliamentary area.
“Hence I request for the Department of Irrigation and Drainage to take proactive action by upgrading the existing system. Should there be financial constraints, it can inform the Federal Government so that emergency funding can be provided,” he said. — Bernama