Plantation Industries Ministry to create more smart smallholders, says inister

Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin speaks during a press conference in Kuala Langat April 15, 2021. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana
Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin speaks during a press conference in Kuala Langat April 15, 2021. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 30 — The Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC) will produce more smart smallholders by modernising services and increasing the adoption of technology.

Its Minister Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin said the ministry will expand integrated crops with cash crops or livestock to increase the income of smallholders, especially for the below 40 per cent income (B40) category.

MPIC will also boost the role of cooperatives to provide better support and result to smallholders.

“We will implement new management models or strengthen existing schemes to restructure and support smallholders such as modern cooperatives, contract plantations, cluster estates and social enterprises.

“We will also optimise the implementation of social safety net programmes to maintain the income of smallholders by identifying their needs based on analysis of background information such as age, succession planning, location, level and source of income, health and welfare,” she said.

MPIC, she said, will also diversify service delivery methods through increasing the adoption of technology to connect and support smallholders such as online information sharing and advisory services as well as platforms for access to technical knowledge.

She said this in an interview with the Bernama Bulletin on Bernama TV, in conjunction with Aspirations of Keluarga Malaysia (AKM) 100 Days.

Commenting on her report card during her 100 days in charge as Commodities Minister, Zuraida said she has successfully implemented three AKMs with 100 per cent achievement.

The three AKMs are increasing the exports value of the agri-commodity sector, finalising standard operating procedures on the hiring of foreign workers for the plantation sector as well as providing a more targeted input assistance distribution policy that will benefit oil palm smallholders with land holdings below 10 hectares.

Meanwhile, she said that until September 2021, the agri-commodity sector had recorded an export value of RM154.7 billion, driven by factors that contributed to the increase of exports of key products such as palm oil and rubber gloves.

“The export value of natural rubber and rubber products had increased by 88.5 per cent to RM59.1 billion, while that of palm oil by 43.3 per cent to RM74.4 billion.

“Timber exports as the third-largest exports contributor after palm oil and rubber recorded an increase of 1.2 per cent to RM15.9 billion,” she said.

Zuraida had previously said that MPIC had targeted the projected value of the nation’s agri-commodity exports for this year to increase by 34 per cent to RM204 billion compared to RM152 billion last year in line with the increase in palm oil prices in the market. — Bernama

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