MALAYSIA: Malaysia's natural rubber output up 13 per cent last year

Malaysia's natural rubber production rose 13 per cent to 970,000 tonnes last year compared with an output of 857,000 tonnes registered in 2009, said Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok Friday (28 January 2011).

"In 2010, the natural rubber industry earned the country RM33 billion in revenue, which was an increase of 32 per cent, when compared with the RM25 billion raked by the country in 2009," he said.

He said the improved earnings indicated that the natural rubber industry was an important contributor to the nation's economic growth.

The industry was reaping further gains with tyre grade, SMR 20, fetching an all-time high of RM16.57 per kilogramme hence uplifting the socio-economic status of about 40,000 rubber smallholders in the country.

"With the current buoyant rubber price, an average smallholder with a smallholding of 2.3 hectares and a latex output of 1,500 kilogrammes per hectares can reap a monthly return of RM3,600," he said.

Dompok added, as a long-term step to assist smallholders, several strategies have been drawn up to assist smallholders which included supplying them with high-yielding clones.

He said the ministry has targetted 500,000 hectares of land in Sarawak and 300,000 hectares in Sabah to be planted with high-yielding clones by 2020.

"The ministry has also set a target to increase output per hectare to 2,000 kilogrammes in 2020 against the current output of 1,470 kilogrammes," Dompok added.(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)