TANJUNG PIAI: The Primary Industries and Commodities Ministry is looking into introducing an integrated plantation system for oil palm and rubber trees as a way to increase the income of small-time farmers, says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Jeck Seng.
The Deputy Minister said to date, two plants had been identified as a suitable addition – pineapples and mushrooms.
“Oil palm and rubber trees may take years to produce, so we are proposing an integrated system for the farmers to sustain themselves during this period.
“The proposal is still in the research phase as we need a third party that can manage these additional crops, such as how to plant, gather and market the produce,” he said after chairing the Tanjung Piai flood mitigation plan at the Tanjung Piai MCA division office yesterday.
Wee said farmers would usually receive at least RM1,000 a month per acre for the plantation.
“Currently, close to one million small-scale farmers are operating 1.2ha of oil palm and rubber plantations.
“We are still looking around for a suitable company and studying the various proposals given to us.
“The company must have the capabilities and expertise as they need to be in charge and manage these additional crops,” he added.
On the mitigation programme, Wee, who is also the Tanjung Piai MP, said there was an urgent need to upgrade the old drainage system.
He said a special task force should also be formed to oversee and study the water flow in Tanjung Piai to ensure that the upgrading works were sustainable.
“We are nearing December, which is usually the monsoon season, so we must act quickly.
“I hope the Drainage and Irrigation Department and the Public Works Department can work together on this matter,” he said.