KUALA LUMPUR, APR 27: The government has allocated RM69.9 million as Monsoon Aid (BMT) this year as a continuous effort to ensure the wellbeing of rubber smallholders and tappers in the country.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the aid would benefit 232,319 rubber smallholders and tappers as they would each receive RM600 which to be paid in two instalments, namely in December 2021 and January 2022.
“Concerned with the plight of rubber smallholders who have been the backbone of the country’s rubber industry, the government has once again allocated a BMT for 2021,” he said at the Risda and Felcra 2021 dividend announcement at Risda headquarters here today.
Muhyiddin said the government had also given the BMT to all rubber smallholders and tappers last year involving an allocation of RM129.8 million, and another RM64 million as Special Covid-19 Aid.
Apart from that, he said the government, through the Ministry of Rural Development (KPLB) and Risda (Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority), had expanded the scopes of Rubber Replanting Aid in a bid to help increase the income of smallholders.
Muhyiddin said smallholders with additional vacant or idle land measuring between 0.1 hectare and 5.0 hectares can now apply for the replanting aid.
“This effort will not only help improve the economy of smallholders as the government aims to also boost the country’s rubber production by increasing the total area of rubber plantation to 1.1 million hectares while reducing idle and uncultivated land,” he said.
In addition, he said the government has introduced a scheme known as the Latex Incentive Scheme, which involves provisions of agricultural input, orchard maintenance and tappers’ wage incentive of RM500 per hectare, to support the needs of the smallholders and encourage them to produce latex, which can increase their income by 30 per cent, rather than relying only on scrap production.
Meanwhile, in order to help the oil palm plantation sector which had suffered a shortage of skilled workers due to Covid-19, the government through Felcra Berhad had, since September last year, created harvest operator jobs for local human capital nationwide.
“It involves 2,500 job opportunities in eight Felcra areas, namely the northern, eastern and central areas, as well as Perak, Pahang, Johor, Sabah dan Sarawak.
“So far, 200 participants have undergone the skill training needed to discharge their duties as harvest in an efficient and effective manner,” he said.
Muhyiddin said the opportunities are also open to those who have lost their source of income due to the pandemic and persons on parole.
“This is also an effort to help the persons on parole to start anew, achieve success and move on from their past mistakes,” he added. – Bernama
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