MALAYSIA’s Modernisation of Agriculture Minister and Rural Development reported that another 20,000 ha of land had been opened for rubber plantations in Kuching, Sarawak this year to produce high quality rubber for the China market.
Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu Numpang, said the extra land areas will top up the existing
16,000 ha of matured plantation and the 8,250 ha that have been cultivated since last year.
He disclosed that the Government is targeting to open some 250,000 ha of rubber plantations across Sarawak by 2020. Currently, most of the plantations are located in the Sarawak towns of Betong, Saratok, Engkilili and Sri Aman.
Sarawk made a deal with China to modernise and commercialise the rubber plantation sector, under the a Memorandum of Understanding and Agreement with Guangdong Agribusiness Corporation (GDA), about eight years ago.
The agreement enabled the setup and operation of an advanced rubber processing factory by Guangken Rubber Industry Standard Malaysian Rubber, which is located in Betong.
The Minister said the the latex harvested from the current plantations are basic raw material, which are then processed into Standard Malaysian Rubber equivalent to SMR 20. The product is exported to Guangdong Province in China.
The additional rubber plantations are seen to augment the shortfalls of areas already developed for existing nurseries. Betong has existing nurseries of 40 acres , yet are not sufficient and half the areas have been developed, he said, adding that his ministry will be working with Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda), Malaysia Rubber Board (LGM) and State Agriculture Department (JPN) for expansion plans for nurseries.
Currently, the group is developing a close to 40-acres new nursery in Debak.
High yield rubber produced using biotechnology have the potential latex yield ranging 2,300 and 2,800 kg/ hectare annually. Participants of the programme will be provided with a 10-acre land planted with high yield rubber that can be tapped after five years and bring income of about RM3,000 a month,he said.