MALAYSIA: Fixing rubber prices with input from farmers

Disclosing this, Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC) Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said the mechanism was approved by the cabinet two week ago to help rubber smallholders.

"The cabinet about two weeks ago approved a mechanism and we are now studying it for implementation.”

"With such mechanism, MRB will help cooperatives buy direct from the farmers and sell direct at pre-determined prices,” Uggah said.

He added that with such mechanism, the role of middlemen would be less and the price of the commodity could be raised by 20 to 30 sen per kilogramme.

Uggah admitted that it was difficult to eradicate the middlemen, but the price of the commodity could at least be stabilised with the mechanism.

He revealed that the government through MPIC was looking for ways to help rubber smallholders should the prices of the commodity continue to drop against the production cost.

"We (MPIC) hope to soon find a mechanism to help our rubber smallholders and others producing commodities like oil palm, pepper and cocoa,” he said.

He said the government had to find ways to help farmers to stop them shifting to other cops, so they can help meet the target to plant an average of 1.2 hectares of rubber and 5.5 hectares of oil palm each by 2020.

According to him, the government had allocated RM250 million to the state this year to help smallholders of rubber, oil palm, cocoa and pepper. Uggah revealed that the government had approved a RM500 one-off payment to help those badly affected by the fall in rubber prices, and for them to be paid before Hari Raya Festival (to be celebrated in late-July 2014).

He advised those yet to register with the Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda) through Agriculture Department to do so.

Uggah disclosed that International Rubber Farmers Council (Majlis Pekebun Getah Antarabangsa) - comprising Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia - will hold a meeting in the state next month to find ways to stabilise the price of rubber.

Source: Daily  "The Borneo Post”, Kuching, Sarawak; 22 June 2014
(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)