MALAYSIA: MPIC looks at replanting rubber in Malaysia to meet increasing demand

The Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry of Malaysia will propose to the cabinet plans to replant 40 hectares of rubber trees per year to meet the current strong demand.

Its Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said his ministry would also propose 13,000 hectares of new plantation a year to increase rubber production level.

"We are trying to increase the production of rubber by replanting," he told reporters after the exchange of agreements between the Malaysian Rubber Board and Felda Rubber Industries Sdn Bhd and MARDEC Bhd, in Kuala Lumpur Thursday (24 Feb. 2011).

"We will propose the plans to the cabinet as soon as possible and hopefully get concrete decision before end of next month," said Dompok.

Malaysia currently has 1.2 million hectares of rubber land, with 80 per cent of the rubber land in production.

Dompok said the country currently produced less than one million tonnes a year. He hopes to double the production of rubber to two million tonnes by 2020.

Other matters to be discussed with the cabinet would include organising rubber smallholders towards better management and good agriculture practice as most of the rubber land are in the hands of independent smallholders, he said.

This would help improve rubber output as well as tapping activities to increase the amount of latex produce.(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)