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Rubber tappers work part-time to survive

Last Update: 26/12/2018

LARUT, Dec 26 (Bernama) -- The fall of rubber prices in the market and the monsoon season force rubber smallholders and tappers to do part-time work to survive. 

Refusing to depend totally on government aid, rubber smallholder, Yahaya Abu Bakar, 58, said he was determined to carry out part-time activities such as planting banana and farming.

Yahaya, who had a 2.02 ha rubber smallholding in kampung Kelian Gunung, said the income from the supplementary crops was just adequate to meet the daily needs of his family.

‘’The price of rubber which go down to RM1.90 a kilogramme since three years ago impact significantly on smallholding owners and rubber tappers.

‘’Income is around RM200 a week but if it rains, rubber cannot be tapped and this presses on us, sometimes we have to tighten our belts,’’ he said when met in Ijok near here today.

In this regard, Yahaya hoped the rubber prices could be raised to ensure smallholders could live comfortably.

‘’Although, the government offered a rubber floor price of RM2.50 a kilogramme recently, the price is still low and rightly it should be raised to RM4 a kilogramme or higher,’’ he said.

Rubber tapper, Abu Hassan Mat Hamid, 70, of Kampung Bendang Luas, often only had about RM60 in income after three days of tapping.

‘’I can only tap for 15 days in a month, and less than that during the rainy season. The uncertain incomes from tapping rubber force tappers to accept weeding stints at plantations and other jobs to increase incomes,’’ said Abu Hassan who owned a 0.8 ha rubber smallholding.



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