: The Ministry of Rural Development has urged Sarawak rubber smallholders to be actively involved in the Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda) development programmes.
Its minister Datuk Abd Latiff Ahmad said the ministry has allocated a total of RM521 million to manage development programmes and strengthen replanting programmes.
“Besides this, Risda is also helping smallholders to be involved in entrepreneurship activities, intensifying smallholders development activities through the Agro-food New Product Development programme, and increasing touchpoint programmes,” he said when officiating the opening of the Risda office in Kota Samarahan, here, today.
This year, he said, a total of RM32.2 million has been allocated by the ministry to implement Risda development programmes in the state for the benefit of 128,000 rubber smallholders.
“Out of the number, RM25.5 million is allocated specially to developing the replanting programme under the 10th Malaysian Plan and 11th Malaysian Plan, involving 10,787.7 hectares,” he said.
Also present were Rural Development Deputy Minister II, Datuk Henry Sum Agong and Risda chairman Datuk Mohd Salim Mohd Sharif.
Mohd Salim said Risda does not want rubber smallholders to be dependent on rubber subsidies, especially during the monsoon season.
“We (Risda) have RM40 million for additional activities to help smallholders, for example, providing capital to those producing rubber clones to be bought back by Risda.
“So this is the minister’s suggestion so that their income can reach RM4,000 per month in the future,” he added.