‘Planting high yielding rubber the way forward’

TRADITIONAL WELCOME: An Iban maiden pours ‘tuak’ (rice wine) for Jabu to welcome him to Rumah Sumbang.

JULAU: Planting of high yielding rubber clones by the rural people is part of the government’s poverty eradication programme.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu said in a bid to help them improve their livelihood, no fewer than 250,000 hectares of land would be planted with the species by 2020.

Speaking at meet-the-people sessions at Rumah Sumbang in Nanga Sekalong, Merurun and Rumah Wilfred Ullie in Ulu Wak, Pakan on Sunday, he said a total of 10,000 ha had been planted with the crop this year alone.

“The total planted area statewide now is 23,000 ha.

MEETING THE PEOPLE: Jabu (front at fifth left) walks to Rumah Wilfred Ullie with Salang (third left) and others on their arrival at the longhouse.

“The government aims to plant on 35,000 ha per year in the next five to eight years so by then the state will have 250,000 ha planted with the high yielding rubber,” he said.

The new rubber clone, he said, could produce up to 2,500 kilogrammes of latex per hectare annually compared to the old clone which only produced between 800 and 900 kg per ha per year.

“In Betong where the new clone is already tapped, it really brings handsome incomes to the planters.

DIGNITARIES: Jabu (second left) with (from right) Tuai Rumah Wilfred Ullie, Mawan, Rundi (partly hidden), Salang (third left) and Liwan (left) during a ‘bebancak babi’ ceremony before entering the longhouse.

“When the price was at RM9.50 per kg, a couple I know earned up to RM6,000 per month,” he said.

Jabu, who is also Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, advised longhouse folk to set aside about 10 acres of their Native Customary Rights (NCR) land for the purpose.

He said they could ask for assistance in the form of rubber saplings, fertilisers and weed killers from Agriculture Department.

Aid are also available at Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda) under its replanting programme, he added.

Meanwhile, Jabu said five other agropolitan projects were implemented or being implemented in Pulau Bruit, Stumbin-Bijat, Lembah Sadong, Panting and Bukit Sadok.

He said they would benefit some 50,000 to 60,000 people in the four parliamentary constituencies within the areas, he said.

“This shows the inclusiveness of the Barisan Nasional (BN) government in bringing transformation to rural areas,” he said.

He reminded the people that the government’s rural development programmes would only be successful if political stability was maintained.

Also present were Social Development Minister Tan Sri William Mawan, Deputy Minister of Information, Communications and Culture Datuk Joseph Salang, Culture and Heritage Assistant Minister Liwan Lagang, Assistant Public Utilities Minister Datuk Dr Stephen Rundi and Sarikei Resident Michael Dawi Alli.

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