The Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda) has allocated RM27 million to assist smallholders nationwide improve their standard of living.
Rural and Regional Development Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said these smallholders are low-income earners (B40) and the assistance would help increase their income by cultivating cash crops as an additional source of income.
“Apart from relying on rubber, the smallholders have to make additional income to cover their daily expenses and the best way is by planting pineapple.
“These extra activities should at least earn them RM500 per month. This year, Risda has allocated RM27 million to conduct Entrepreneurship Economic Supplementary Activities For Smallholders,” he told reporters after opening the Johor Risda new office in Johor Baru today.
Among the activities to increase income are kelulut honey, oyster mushroom farming, pineapple and banana cultivation and rearing of kampung chicken.
Earlier, Ismail Sabri witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Risda and Malaysian Pineapple Industry Board (LPNM) to help B40 group under to grow pineapple in their rubber or oil palm plantations.
This MoU was an initiative under the National Blue Ocean Strategy (NBOS) on collaboration efforts between agencies to improve the income of smallholders under RISDA through MD2 pineapple integrated project to be implemented this January until the end of 2018.
“LPNM will play a role in supplying 10,000 pineapple suckers (seedling) per acre with a minimum area of 2.5 acres or a maximum of 15 acres per participant apart from assistance in the form of RM0.15 sen per sucker or RM1,500 per acre.
“Meanwhile, Risda will provide participants of rubber or oil palm integrated replanting schemes with an assistance of RM9,230 per hectare for rubber and RM7,000 per hectare for oil palm and other necessary assistance.
“The pineapple will be planted among the rubber trees or other crops that can help them generate more income and not be too dependent on rubber,” he said.
MD2 pineapple variety comes from Hawaii and brought into Malaysia in 2008.
Among its main criteria are sweeter taste, weather and disease resistant, contains vitamin C four times higher than common varieties.
The MD2 pineapple could fetch RM3.50 per kilogramme in the market and smallholders could earn an average of RM6,000 per harvest as the crops could produce up to 20 tonnes of fruits per hectare.
The maturity of the rubber trees were between three to six years while the pineapple plant’s maturity time was only 15 months.
Ismail Sabri also said that they would help smallholders to have access to affordable housing through its Rumah Bina Negara (BN homes) programme.
BN homes will be sold at RM40,000 per unit after government subsidy of RM20,000 from its original price of RM60,000.