RM32.2 mln allocated to Risda Sarawak

Dr Abd Latiff (right) and Risda chairman Datuk Mohd Salim Mohd Sharif (on Dr Abd Latiff’s right) plant a durian tree at Risda office, Kota Samarahan. Photo: Ghazali Bujang

KUCHING: A total of RM32.2 million has been allocated to the Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda) Sarawak that will benefit 128,000 smallholders statewide.

Rural Development Minister Datuk Dr Abd Latiff Ahmad said from the total, RM25.3 million was channelled to replanting rubber trees under the 10th and 11th Malaysia Plan involving a total area of 10,798.7 hectares.

“Meanwhile, the rest will be used for development programmes, facilities and training, entrepreneurship, productivity as well as developing new products,” he said when officiating at the new Risda office in Kota Samarahan yesterday.

Dr Abd Latiff said, as of now, Risda has offices at all states, 54 district Risda offices and 149 Risda station offices to serve more than 500,000 smallholders with an allocation of RM521 million.

“I also take note that Risda Sarawak has faced challenges in terms of verifying untitled land for Native Customary Rights (NCR) land. However, the challenge has been eased with the collaboration of the state’s Land and Survey Department.

“Also, with the collaboration, I was made to understand that within 10 years of Risda in Sarawak, a total of 27,000 hectares were replanted with an allocation of RM336 million aided by 242 Risda staff,” he said.

He added that the success is proof of Risda’s ability and the service of other rural agencies in Sarawak which sought to deliver the best services to rural dwellers.

Meanwhile, on facilities programme, Dr Abd Latiff said Risda Sarawak had received a total of RM3.7 million and used 97 percent of the allocation to support 30 group replantation projects along 40km stretch of plantation road, 40 sewers and 2.02km of sewage system.

“Such projects will help to foster the wellbeing of the people as well as provide a positive impact to smallholders economy,” he said.

Abd Latiff also said that Risda Sarawak would receive an allocation of RM1.2 million which would benefit 406 entrepreneurs in the agriculture, service, food and manufacturing sectors.

“At the same time, Risda Sarawak also targets 76 new entrepreneurs which will be developed this year,” he said.