Akhbar Atas Talian No 1 Borneo

Floor price of scrap rubber should be increased


KENINGAU (Sabah, Malaysia): The time has come to raise the floor price of scrap rubber in Sabah to RM3.50 per kg in order to increase the income of smallholders.

Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said the present floor price of RM2.50 per kg was set seven years ago and that maintaining the price today is unfair to smallholders.

“Time has changed and there is reason to raise the floor price now. We must ensure that our smallholders can make a living, particularly during this time when prices of goods including food have increased dramatically,” he said.

Kitingan said this after attending a dialogue between Sabah Rubber Industry Board (LIGS) and members of the Association of Rubber Smallholders Keningau here today.

Aside from raising the floor price of scrap rubber, Kitingan said LIGS also proposed other ways to increase rubber smallholders income such as growing other crops like pineapples, rearing livestock such as chicken and exploring opportunities in the stingless honey bees industry.

Other than the demand to raise the price floor of scrap rubber, attendees also requested that the government increase subsidies to smallholders in need.

“My ministry will address the matter with both the Sabah and federal governments so that we can make a more comprehensive decision. I’d like to reassure smallholders that the ministry is aware of and sympathetic to their situation.

“I am pleased with this dialogue because without it, we would only be talking to the wind with no opportunity to adequately discuss our problems and obstacles,” he said.

Kitingan also explained that the price of rubber is set by the market and not by his ministry or LIGS and its ups and downs are determined by the commodity’s demands in the global market.

Furthermore, he said the prices of supplies such as pesticides and fertilizers are under the control of the federal’s Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNKK) and not his ministry or LIGS.

“It is critical that these factors be understood so that no one blames the wrong party or thinks the ministry has unlimited authority to raise or lower prices at will.

“If it were up to us, we would certainly control the price accordingly so that our people can have better income.

“But the truth is that all prices are market-driven. I wish we could do more. Unfortunately, we can only help so much such as through subsidies, monetary aid, and technical assistance. That is our responsibility and we will continue to provide these services,” he said.



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