News | 2,000 crepe rubber processing centres to be built to help smallholders get higher income, says Zuraida

KUALA BERANG (Dec 1): The government plans to build 2,000 crepe rubber processing centres nationwide to enable rubber smallholders, totalling about 459,000 in the country, to reap higher income.

Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin said the initiative is among those planned by the ministry under the National Rubber Industry Transformation Programme which aims to improve the income of smallholders.

“With the availability of these centres, smallholders can send the ‘cup lump’ (coagulated rubber that is produced when the latex is left uncollected and allowed to coagulate under bacterial action) to be turned into crepe rubber, which is of higher value.

 “It will also avoid smallholders from going through middlemen for the process and  enable them (smallholders) to sell the crepe rubber themselves to companies that produce rubber-based products,” she told a press conference after visiting the Sungai Sari Rubber Research Station here on Wednesday (Dec 1).

According to Zuraida, smallholders can earn up to RM2,000 a month by selling crepe rubber compared with RM1,000 to RM1,300 a month selling cum lumps.

She said for a start, the ministry, through the Malaysian Rubber Board, aims to build 100 crepe rubber centres in Kedah, which contributes 30% of the country’s total rubber production and is one of the top rubber producers in Malaysia.

She also advised rubber smallholders to set up cooperatives as the move could help them to work in an organised manner and also facilitate the delivery of government information to them.

Meanwhile, on the process of bringing in 32,000 foreign workers to work in oil palm plantations in the country, Zuraida said it would be done soon.

“God willing, we will bring in foreign workers next years if the situation is all good and allowed by the Ministry of Health,” she added. – BERNAMA

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