BALING, June 11 — The government is identifying methods to help and encourage rubber smallholders to switch to producing latex from scrap rubber and crepe rubber.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof said the change would help increase the income of smallholders because the price of latex in the market was higher than that of scrap rubber or crepe rubber.
Fadillah, who is also the Minister of Plantation and Commodities, said his ministry was examining a variety of issues in order to achieve the transition, including business models that could be introduced to smallholders with the cooperation of rubber industry players.
“This can only be implemented with the cooperation of the industry, where we can involve them along with smallholders to help switch to latex production.
“The cooperation may include industry players buying latex from smallholers at a better price,” he told reporters after attending the Sembang Getah Warung programme in Kampung Charok Gorok here today.
Fadillah said the switch to latex production is also expected to reduce the country’s current latex imports, which are estimated to be around RM3 billion a year.
He said the use of technology instead of conventional methods could also help smallholders switch to latex production.
“Most smallholders are middle-aged, so we have to look into how we can make it easier and find ways to help them,” he said.
Fadillah added that his ministry is also looking into ways to integrate rubber plantations with other crops for agriculture, such as vegetables and fruits, to help smallholders increase their income. — Bernama