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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 21 -- The demand for rubber is expected to continue rising this year, mainly due to post-COVID-19 hygiene awareness, said the Malaysian Rubber Council (MRC).
Its chief executive officer Nor Hizwan Ahmad said when the pandemic hit, besides rubber-based products such as rubber gloves being in high demand in local and overseas markets, hygiene awareness too has been on the rise.
“Previously, rubber gloves were widely used in the health sector, but COVID-19 caused other areas such as food preparation and cleaning to start emphasising hygiene factors,” he said in an interview on Bernama TV’s “Darah Muda” programme today.
Commenting on the key challenges faced by the rubber industry, Nor Hizwan issues such as middlemen and the involvement of smallholders in the value chain made the rubber industry unattractive.
“Middlemen have a direct impact on the income of smallholders, while the lack of involvement of small entrepreneurs in the value chain resulted in them not getting the benefits enjoyed by large companies, especially when demand is soaring,” he added.
Nor Hizwan said the lack of direct involvement in the international value chain has weakened Malaysia’s international competitiveness.
“Therefore, we hope that more young people get involved in the rubber sector as we continue to provide scholarships and grants for innovation and technology to attract their attention,” he said.
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