Sunday, October 30, 2011

250,000 hectares of rubber plantation in Sarawak by 2020 - Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu

250,000ha for rubber by 2020

MIRI: The government has proposed to expand rubber plantation area to 250,000 hectares by 2020 which will benefit as well as improve the living standard of more than 350,000 rural residents in the state.

This was disclosed by Deputy Chief Minister DatukPatinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu Numpang who is also Minister for the Modernisation of Agriculture and Rural Development when officiating at the NKEA (National Key Economic Area) Rubber Lab at a leading hotel here yesterday.

Jabu said that once the objective has been achieved, it will indirectly solve the problems faced by 50 percent or 1.2 million low-income groups living in the rural areas.

He added that the government’s effort to encourage the people in every division in the state to be involved in rubber plantation was initiated with an allocation of RM53 million by the federal government under the NKEA for the implementation of rubber planting on 10,000 hectares of land by 2012.

“After detailed observations, studies and discussions, the government is confident that rubber plantation will increase the income of the rural poor and subsequently, elevate their financial status.

“I am also certain that with the availability of infrastructure and logistics, we will be able to achieve our objective as planned (250,000 hectares of rubber plantations),”Jabu said.

Apart from that, Jabu also revealed that several areas had also been identified for cluster plantations at Gunung Sadok (covering seven constituencies namely Sarikei, Sri Aman, Betong and Julau, among others), Kedayan, Telang Usan in Miri and Katibas near Kapit.

Jabu also explained that for the purpose of expanding the rubber planting area in the state, the government with the help of the Agriculture Department will plan and supervise the setting up of the new rubber plantations.

For the replanting process involving estates which are found unproductive, Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (RISDA) will be tasked to replace the existing trees with high quality clones.

“Rubber trees that we are going to be planted under this programme will probably reach maturity and ready for harvest by 2025,” explained Jabu and urged those involved to be patient as the results obtained after the long wait would be worth their while.

In that regard, Jabu gave his assurance that the unstable price of rubber in the past will not recur once the government had trained and taught local entrepreneurs to buy latex rubber from the rural small holders which will then be directly exported to China, a major importer of Malaysian rubber.

The five-day NKEA Rubber Lab attended by more than 30 officers from the various government department and agencies will work out the relevant plans and actions for the implementation of rubber planting in the state.

Jabu later ‘sent-off ’ two lorries laden with new rubber clone seedlings, fertilizers and planting equipment for distribution to 18 areas in Ulu Baram under the 1AZAM Programme.

Also present at the launch were Assistant Minister of Agriculture, Research and Marketing,Datuk Mong Dagang, State Assemblyman for Telang Usan Dennis Ngau, the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture Datu Dr Ngenang anak Jangu and Director of Agriculture Lai Kui Fong.

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