Some 30,000 rubber smallholders here, in Temerloh and Jerantut claim their income has been affected by the drought that began early this month.
Masood Mat Jali, 49, said he used to earn between RM40 and RM50 a day, but only took home between RM18 and RM25 a day since the change in the weather.
“When the weather is too hot, the rubber trees don’t produce much sap, leaving us with less income. It’s worse as the price of rubber has dropped.
“Even if we want to carry out farming to supplement our income, it is impossible because the soil is too dry,” he said yesterday.
Yusnaidi Harun, 45, from Kampung Guntong Kerdau, Temerloh, said he had to be prudent in his spending by only buying necessities.
“The rubber trees are dry. Their leaves have turned red and are falling. The trees also produce less milk and can be tapped on alternate days only.
“If the trees are tapped daily, they will die faster.”
Mohamed Jali, 43, a father-of-10 from Kampung Tanah Nyior, Jerantut, said he now fished to earn extra income.
“Eight of my children are still schooling and I need between RM20 and RM35 for their daily expenses. I am the sole breadwinner and if I have to rely on rubber tapping alone during this dry season, there will be times when we have to go without food.”
However, he said he was grateful to the Barisan Nasional government for providing the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M), which helped to lessen their burden.
In Temerloh, Kuala Krau Member of Parliament Datuk Ismail Mohamed Said said a RM52 million project to upgrade water supply for residents in Jengka Felda and nearby areas, which started last year, would be completed this year.
He said 70 per cent of the project, involving the changing of 20-year-old pipes, was completed.
Source: New Straits Times
Published: 23 Feb 2014