1.3 million smallholders set to benefit

PETALING JAYA: The livelihood of 1.3 million smallholders will be improved with the historic RM6.5bil allocation provided for them under Budget 2018, said Plantation Indus­tries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong.

“In Budget 2018 tabled on Friday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced a historic RM6.5bil to agricultural smallholders, the largest of its kind.

“This reflects the Government’s appreciation towards the contribution of smallholders as the heartbeat of the Malaysian economy,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Mah said the export value of the commodities sector had increased by 21% between January and August compared to the same period last year, reaching a total of RM93bil.

“It has also contributed 15% of the total export of Malaysian merchandise. The ministry is confident that commodity exports will surpass the RM130bil target this year,” he said.

He believes the allocation will reinvigorate the commodities sector to continue performing as the largest contributor of net exports in the country in 2018.

Under the Budget, up to RM460mil has also been allocated for the welfare of rubber smallholders through the Monsoon Season Aid, which will benefit more than 500,000 smallholders, and also for rubber replanting schemes and infrastructure for latex production.

Another RM140mil has been allocated for oil palm replanting, new plantations and oil palm promotion, among others.

Mah said in continuing the existing programmes that cater to smallholders, a RM497.3mil development allocation was announced through Budget 2018.

“This development allocation will encompass various aids and incentives, covering plantation inputs and improvement of rural roads for smallholders across the country,” he said.





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