KUALA LUMPUR, May 8 (Bernama) — The Malaysian government, in a bid to shore up natural rubber prices, will construct rubberised roads, says Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Douglas Uggah Embas.
Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister, Datuk Douglas Uggah Embas (seated in the middle) representing Malaysia at the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC) meeting in Kuala Lumpur
“We should increase the use of rubber and the government is targeting to utilise 10 per cent of total rubber production this year,” he said, adding that Indonesia and Thailand have also agreed to do the same.
Uggah was speaking to reporters after the ministerial level Special Session of the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC) in Kuala Lumpur, Friday.
Top producer Thailand, which announced similar plans to use rubber for roads, pavements and reservoirs, uses 3.5 tonnes of natural rubber for every 1km of road.
Meanwhile, Uggah said Malaysian rubber prices were expected to rebound this year, lifted by renewed demand from China.
The minister said natural rubber prices has been declining over the years which has drastically affected the income of smallholders.
As of 12 noon, SMR 20 stood at RM5.34 per kilogramme.
On Thursday, the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC) Executive Committee met to discuss long-term price stability and other issues.
“The outcome on strategies and actions to curb low rubber prices will be reached after October 15, when the proposals during the annual general meeting of the assembly will be presented for deliberation,” said Uggah.
The meeting between the member countries would ensure a common trading platform for rubber that would link the existing systems in the ANRPC member countries to provide a more reflective price for natural rubber based on supply and demand fundamentals.
The 11 ANRPC members include Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam, Singapore and China which account for 92 per cent of the global production of natural rubber in 2014. Singapore and China did not attend the meeting.
In a related matter, Uggah said Vietnam, the world’s third largest rubber NR producer, has agreed to cooperate with Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia under the umbrella International Tripartite Rubber Council (ITRC) to shore up rubber prices.
These four countries account for 75 per cent of world production.
Asked on the status of Vietnam joining ITRC, he said besides the ongoing existing programme he said:”They have agreed to join the ITRC, however, this has not been finalised.
“We want them to be part of the council as soon as possible. As a matter of fact they are here today and this shows that they are ready to work together with us to bring rubber price up to more realistic levels,” added Uggah.