By D KANYAKUMARI / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
Malaysia’s commodities exports have increased consecutively to RM93.4 billion as of August 2017, against RM77.5 billion in the same period last year.
Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong (picture) said the improvements are consistent over eight months this year.
“It is a 21% increase since the same period of January to August last year, and it goes to show that the plantation industry is doing really well,” he said at a press conference after officiating the National Association of Smallholders Malaysia 21st Bi-Annual General Meeting on Tuesday.
Mah said 40% of Malaysia’s commodities were contributed by smallholders who own over 2.7 million hectares of land meant for plantation.
As it is, the export value of agri-commodities grew 14.8% to RM8.75 billion for the period of January to July 2017, compared to RM7.6 billion during the same period last year.
The exports were largely rubber products valued at RM3.8 billion, followed by palm oil and palm-based products at RM2.5 billion, and timber and timber products valued at RM2.1 billion.
Meanwhile, Mah also said bagworm infestation has affected the productivity of the palm oil industry by 50%, causing a loss of RM120 million a year.
The infestation has damaged 33,000ha of crops in Johor, Perak, Pahang and Selangor.
“It has affected 13,000 farmers so far and we do not want this to continue, so the ministry is finding ways to curb the issue in the next two weeks,” he said.
“We are working on finding a comprehensive plan to solve this issue and curb the attacks by these bagworms.”
Meanwhile, the ministry also said 500,730 smallholders have registered for the government’s Monsoon Season Aid.
“We will be giving a payment of RM200 for three months starting November, where each registered smallholder will be given a card to retrieve their aid.
“As of now, the government has allocated RM261 million for this cause,” he said.
The first ever monsoon aid was launched on Sept 1 this year.