MALAYSIA: Malaysia may increase rubber output

Rubber production in Malaysia, the world's third-largest grower and exporter, may expand 6.5 per cent as higher prices encourage farmers to boost tapping, according to the Malaysian Rubber Board.

Output may increase to 1 million metric tons this year, from 939,000 million in 2010, Salmiah Ahmad, director general of the board, said in an interview.

"If the price continues to remain this strong, then smallholders will continue tapping,” said Salmiah, who joined the board last year after working in the palm oil industry for almost three decades.

"Smallholders in Malaysia treat the trees like automatic teller machines. They will tap when they need the money or when it is very lucrative for them to tap,” she said.(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)