MALAYSIA: RM398 million budget for rubber body

The budget will cover 34,310 ha for replanting, 3,000 ha for new planting, 10,000 ha for oil palm replanting under the National Key Economic Area, 100,771 ha for extended replanting under the Ninth Malaysia Plan and 14,597 ha for replanting under the 10th Malaysia Plan.

At the MoU (memo of understanding) signing ceremony between Felcra Bhd and Risda for rubber replanting programme in Kuala Lumpur on 18 Sept. 2012 , Rahim said Risda had implemented a similar programme with several government agencies such as Felda, South Kelantan Development Authority, Orang Asli Development Department and Felcra but "no MoUs were signed.”

He said that it was timely to have MoUs with the agencies involved to ensure that an effective rubber replanting programme could be implemented according to the terms and conditions set by Risda as the financial provider.

Under the MoU between Risda and Felcra, Risda will channel the fund to enable Felcra to develop unproductive smallholders' land which it manages under the land development programme.

Both Felcra and Risda will join forces in terms of expertise, services and technical know-how to ensure good agricultural practice is adopted under the replanting and new planting programme.

Felcra chairman Datuk Tajuddin Abdul Rahman said the success of the programme would depend on the efficient and systematic mode of replanting among the smallholders.

"Previously, although the fund was easily available, the replanting target was seldom met,” he said adding that the focus for Felcra would be to instill discipline among smallholders on the replanting target that will help boost the country's natural rubber (NR) production.

Earlier, Rural and Regional Development minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal who witnessed the MoU signing ceremony said Risda's rubber replanting programme from 2012 to 2015 which covered 242,857 ha was expected to benefit 152,343 smallholders.

"We are targeting to increase NR production by 100 kg per ha from smallholders.”

Source: Daily "The Star", Kuala Lumpur; 19 Sept 2012

(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)