CHUKAI, June 27-- Youths have been urged to get involved in rubber cultivation sector to produce quality latex as the source of income and at the same time reducing the country’s dependence on the import of the material.
Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Dr Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali said that currently the average of those involved in rubber cultivation were in their 50s, with most of them were collecting their tapped rubber as cuplumps.
“There is a possibility that the number will dwindle lot further within the next 10 years because it is hard work to produce quality latex as tapping have to be done in the morning and then the latex must be collected in the same day ... unlike cuplumps that can be left overnight,” he said when speaking at the launch of the RRIMniaga application at the Kampung Ibok multipurpose hall, here today.
He said market price for latex was also relatively high at about RM 4 a kilogramme (kg) compared to cup lumps at only RM2.50 a kg.
Also present were Malaysian Rubber Board (LGM) chairman Datuk Ahmad Nazlan Idris and its director-general Datuk Dr Zairossani Mohd Nor.
Khairuddin said to encourage participation of more youth, the government is now actively planning and providing training including in latex technology in Sungai Buloh, Selangor and several other places to interested youths in efforts to ensure the continuation of the country’s rubber legacy.
Meanwhile, via the launch of the RRIMniaga application, it is hoped to increase the number of applicants for rubber production incentive (IPG) to stabilise the earnings of smallholders involved, particularly during the drop in the price of the commodity.
The smartphone online application requires 2,600 licenced rubber buyers nationwide to record their rubber transactions, which will later allow the government to locate smallholders who are eligible for IPG benefits.
“The use of the application will be mandatory from Jan 1, 2021 and will now be accessible to all rubber buyers ... Assistance will also be channelled directly to the applicant's accounts. It is expected to make it easier for everyone and at the same time help to safeguard the welfare and secure the income of the smallholders when rubber prices fall,” he said.
He said that thus far only 70,000 to 80,000 out of 457,000 rubber smallholders have been applying for the IPG while the government was ready to help ease their burden.
The small number of applicants for IPG was believed to be due to the lack of information and the failure of the smallholders to fill in the form completely.