PEKAN, June 20 (Bernama) — The setting up of the Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (RISDA) Foundation will be put into optimum use to help RISDA smallholders and their families, as well as its staff and subsidiaries.
Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said the foundation, with a start-up fund of RM2 million, would also be used to help in any RISDA’s educational, sports and social welfare activities.
“This foundation will provide aid to orphans, single mothers and disaster victims, while at the same time, support the self-help projects or programmes for the underprivileged.”
He said this to reporters after the announcement of RISDA’s dividends for 2015 by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at Dewan Seri Perdana, Kolej Automotif Antarabangsa (ICAM) here.
Mohd Shafie also said that RISDA would continue taking proactive measures to improve its productivity despite having a limited size of plantation area.
He said this was because having a limited size of plantation area was among the factors for Malaysia to slip to sixth place from first previously in world rubber production.
“We realise that our land is limited in the peninsula, so RISDA will intensify initiatives to encourage more smallholders in Sabah and Sarawak to plant rubber trees,” he said.
At the same time, in facing the uncertain price of the commodity, Mohd Shafie said RISDA also encouraged its smallholders to plant chili and pineapple or venture into entrepreneurship to earn side income.
“We have also built shop lots as an encouragement for them to venture into entrepreneurship in their areas, and we have also forged close cooperation with MARA to give out loans to those who are qualified,” he added.