MALAYSIA: Some 11,000 smallholders in Sarawak apply to plant rubber

The State Agriculture Department received 8,439 applications to plant rubber in 18,606 hectares while the Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda) received 2,799 applications for replanting.

Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said the government has approved adequate funds to implement the fresh crop and replanting programme this year.

Under this programme, smallholders will receive RM13,500 financial aid for a hectare, agriculture inputs and advisory service from Risda and the State Agriculture Department, he said when launching rubber new crop and replanting under the National Key Economic Area (NKEA) programme.

The government has allocated RM194.7 million under the rubber NKEA to fund replanting of 40,000 hectares and to plant rubber as a new crop in 18,000 hectares country-wide between 2011 and 2012, the minister added.

Source: "Bernama" (Malaysian National News Agency), Kuala Lumpur; 2 Feb 2012

(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)