KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will participate in the International Rubber Tripartite Conference scheduled for September 15, 2017 in Bangkok, said Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong.
Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong (third from right) is flanked by Getahindus (M) Sdn Bhd senior management team during his visit to their rubber processing plant in Johor, today. (Pic by The Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities)
The International Tripartite Rubber Council, comprising of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand are planning to use more rubber in their respective countries for road and port construction. The aim is to mop up excess supplies.
From January until June, the Standard Malaysian Rubber (SMR 20) prices have plunged by 40 per cent to RM5.75 per kg from RM9.60 per kg. In July, it recovered to RM6.25 per kg and in August, it rose a little bit to RM6.50.
Mah announced this upcoming tri-partite meeting with Thailand’s Agriculture Minister General Chatchai Sarikulya and Indonesia’s Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita, during his walkabout at the facilities of rubber processor Getahindus (M) Sdn Bhd, in Johor, today.
“The Malaysian Government is of the same view with Thailand and Indonesia to address volatile global rubber pricing. This matter is of big concern for our 450,000 rubber smallholders,” Mah said.
Malaysia is currently the fifth largest producer of natural rubber in the world with a total production of 670,000 tonnes, behind big producers Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and China.
Mah reiterated that smallholders tending to rubber trees will not be able to tap the trees for latex, as we approach the monsoon season at the end of the year.
“Rest assure, the 450,000 rubber smallholders across Malaysia will receive RM600 each, from November 2017 to January 2018, to help tide over difficult times of falling prices and year-end monsoon season of trickling production,” he said, adding RM261 million had been allocated under Budget 2017 for this purpose.
The Malaysian Rubber Board (MRB) has developed a mobile application named “Bantuan Musim Tengkujuh” or BMT for rubber smallholders apply for the aid by keying in their identification card number.
So far, MRB received some 18,000 BMT applications since applications for the monsoon aid was opened on 1st September 2017, with the highest numbers received from Kelantan, Kedah, Pahang and Perak.
Rubber smallholders are reminded that the applications will close at the end of this month.
Established in 1988, Getahindus sources latex from rubber smallholders to produce 3,000 tonnes of processed rubber per month for the local market and export to Europe, USA, China and Australia.
When commenting on the country’s rubber value chain, Mah said MRB will continue its initiatives to help latex producers raise their productivity from 1.2 tonnes / hectare to 2.0 tonnes / hectare to ensure continuous supply of feedstock to downstream businesses like medical gloves, catheters and condom manufacturers.