Ministry looking at disease-resistant clones to boost rubber output

Deputy Prime Minister Fadillah Yusof says R&D initiatives are being carried out to raise rubber production for smallholders. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, October 26, 2023.

THE Plantation and Commodities Ministry is conducting a study on the development of genomic technology to produce high-quality and disease-resistant rubber tree clones, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.

Deputy Prime Minister Fadillah Yusof said this is one of the research and development (R&D) initiatives carried out by the ministry as a long-term plan to increase rubber production for smallholders.

He said one of the main challenges faced by smallholders is the diseases affecting rubber trees, particularly white root disease, which impacts the yield of the commodity.

“We are also focusing on R&D involving seed planting using machines and automated tapping methods. Good tapping quality will have a positive impact on rubber production,” said Fadillah, who is also plantation and commodities minister, during the Ministers’ Question Time.

“We also aim to develop harvesting and marketing methods to ensure that our products are sustainable and internationally accepted.”

Fadillah said this in reply to Adnan Abu Hassan (Kuala Pilah-BN), who wanted to know the measures and initiatives that are being and to be implemented by the ministry to help rubber smallholders who are facing low rubber prices.

Fadillah also said one of the measures taken is through the Rubber Industry Transformation Project (Target), which is expected to add value to rubber and increase income for smallholders.

“As of August, six Target participants, including cooperatives and entrepreneurs, have passed the incubator phase,” he said.

“The next stage is the monitoring process for the opening of crip rubber processing centres at suitable locations.” – Bernama, October 26, 2023.

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