State aims to develop 200,000ha with rubber trees – Uggah

BETONG: Sarawak aims to develop 200,000ha of land with rubber trees as part of efforts to produce Standard Malaysian Rubber (SMR), rubber latex, and wood suitable for furniture.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, who is Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development, told reporters on Thursday that the state rubber industry needs to be further developed systematically in accordance with the national Rubber Industry Masterplan and in line with the country’s objective to reduce dependence on imported rubber raw materials.

Uggah pointed out Malaysia is now the biggest producer of rubber gloves globally but is still importing latex from neighbouring countries due to insufficient local production.

He said, compounding the issue, the rubber seedlings used by planters today are only suitable to produce SMR while the trees are not suitable to make furniture.

Now we have 165,000ha of land for rubber plantation and only a substantial number of the trees are tapped. In Sarawak, we cut down trees and let them be while we replant, but in Peninsular Malaysia, the trees have high economic value as they are used as raw materials for the making of furniture, he said.

Uggah said with good and modern infrastructure and vast idle land, Sarawak has the potential to increase the production of rubber and become a major producer of rubber gloves.

We still have large tracts of land and this fact can help the state to get an additional 200,000ha of land within 10 more years to improve the acreage of rubber plantations, he said.

With adequate and constant supply of latex, Uggah said he is confident of attracting foreign investment and this in turn would generate not only income but job opportunities for Sarawakians.

I have directed the Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Salcra) to plant rubber trees on 5,000ha of land. We want the rubber industry to help those in the smallholdings sector and big plantations, he said.

In his speech when launching the Good Agricultural Practice Convention held by the Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda), Uggah said he hoped the agency would continue its efforts to improve the livelihoods and income of planters in Sarawak.

We also hope that the Risda supply chain can contribute to improving the income of villagers, especially the farmers, of up to RM4,000 per month by 2030, said Uggah, who is Bukit Saban assemblyman and Betong member of parliament.

Among those present were Layar assemblyman Gerald Rentap Jabu and Risda development and technology transfer director Amran Jaafar.

Source: Sarawak Government