Minister: Rubber sector has potential to grow, exports worth RM71b recorded in 2021
14 Apr 2022
The local rubber industry has the potential to expand after the country recorded rubber exports worth RM71 billion last year, said Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin.
She said out of that value, rubber gloves remained the main export earner, contributing RM54.81 billion, which was 55.4 per cent higher than 2020.
“Various programmes have been implemented by the Malaysian Rubber Board (MRB) to help rubber industry players, including providing incentive packages aimed at supporting rubber products manufacturers,” she said during a plant visit to Meditech Gloves Sdn Bhd here, today.
Zuraida said MRB had also introduced the Industry Linkage Fund to encourage industry-academia cooperation through research and development projects that have the potential to contribute to the development of the rubber industry.
She said the ministry is also striving to raise the floor price of scrap rubber from RM2.50 to RM3.50 per kilogramme to increase smallholders’ income.
Meanwhile, MRB director-general Datuk Dr Zairossani Mohd Nor said the East Coast Latex Corridor programme was among the efforts to encourage national latex production.
He said there were also government allocations to develop the infrastructures for latex collection centres and the use of technology to encourage smallholders to produce latex in large quantities.
“The country needs 400,000 tonnes of latex a year but the local supply can only produce 40,000 tonnes. Almost 90 per cent is imported from Vietnam and Thailand.
“So local latex production needs to be increased. Actually, the domestic rubber production is sufficient, only that it is produced in scrap form,” he said.
Zairossani said the country’s rubber plantation acreage totalled 1.04 million hectares, with about 400,000 hectares in the East Coast states.
He added that the government planned to make Sarawak a latex production hub. The state’s rubber acreage is close to 50,000 hectares.
An MRB source has clarified that latex and rubber are different products. Although last year’s domestic rubber production was about 500,000 tonnes, less than 10 per cent were in latex form, the bulk being scrap rubber.
If this 500,000 tonnes were in latex form, there is no necessity to import latex from other countries, the source said.