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Zahid: Govt to boost local latex production to help rubber smallholders

Publish date: Sat, 01 Apr 2023, 06:21 PM

BAGAN DATUK: The government will continue its focus on latex production to improve the income of rubber tappers in the country, said Rural and Regional Development minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He said it was crucial that local industry reduced its dependence on imported latex, which had reached RM3 billion.

"The price of rubber is determined by demand and supply at the global level. However, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as finance minister has announced that the floor price has been increased.

"Although we see a lot of congealed rubber still being produced, we have to play a role because RM3 billion is used to import latex from abroad for local industry use," he said.

Zahid, who is also deputy prime minister was speaking after attending a Tadarus Al-Quran programme at Dewan Perdana, Bagan Datuk Umno Complex, Sungai Sumun here last night.

He said the expenditure could be saved if the production of latex in the country could be increased.

"If more latex is produced, of course when there is more demand, the price will surge.

"The number of latex production depots will be increased. In terms of the long-term plan, Risda (Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority) in particular, will make an effort to increase the floor price of latex," he added.

When tabling the 2023 Budget on Feb 24, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim announced plans to increase the minimum income of rubber tappers by raising the floor price of rubber from RM2.50 to RM2.70 per kg, with an allocation of RM350 million.

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