KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 13 (Bernama) — All the 64 smallholder cooperatives in the country will receive soft loans totalling RM6.4 million from the Malaysian Rubber Board (MRB) next month to enable them to buy rubber from 442,000 smallholders.
Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said the loans, which would be disbursed starting Nov 1, would enable the cooperatives to have a working capital to make the purchases.
He said the Cabinet had approved the loans to ease the difficulties faced by the cooperatives in making the purchases.
“I’m confident that MRB is ready to disburse the loans,” he told reporters after officiating the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries’ seventh Annual Rubber Conference here today.
The provision of the soft loans for the smallholder cooperatives was announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in the 2015 Budget last Friday.
Uggah also said that the MRB would allocate RM100 million to implement a regulatory price mechanism at the farm level to protect smallholders from losses incurred, particularly when the world market price falls below a minimum fixed price.
Based on the International Rubber Study Group (IRSG) report, the current excess global stock of natural rubber, estimated at 2.6 million tonnes, has contributed to the low prices.
“As rubber prices have been sliding down, we must find ways to cushion the negative impact on smallholders who have suffered a drop in income,” he said.
However, Uggah did not give details of the programme as it is subject to the Cabinet’s approval.