KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia—Several Southeast Asian governments are launching support programs to boost the livelihoods and income of natural rubber smallholders.
Malaysia, for one, is encouraging rubber farmers to convert from producing scrap and crepe rubber to latex, the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC) reported in its latest monthly report July 21. This step, it said, could minimize import-dependency, estimated to be worth about $658 million per year.
Together with industry stakeholders, the Malaysian government is evaluating the rubber growers' business model for this transition, the association said.
Rubber smallholders, meanwhile, have been urged to apply for monsoon season aid from the Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority valued at about $175 per smallholder.
The $56 million financial aid is expected to benefit a total of 318,750 rubber smallholders, according to ANRPC.