‘Latex corridor’ coming up for East Coast rubber production

A boom in latex gloves has raised the value of rubber exports by RM2 billion. (Bernama pic)

Kuala Lumpur: The Malaysian Rubber Board plans to increase the production of latex by developing a national latex corridor along the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia.

Chairman Ahmad Nazlan Idris said the industry needs to shift to new areas in Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu from areas where the industry was concentrated in the past like Johor, Selangor and Perak.

“The east coast is suitable for the development of a latex corridor,” he said in a Bernama TV interview last night.

He said the country produces 45,000 tonnes of latex yearly, only 10% of the national maximum capacity of 450,000 tonnes.

MRB was planning to shift the focus of rubber tappers to latex rubber which has a higher value and global demand compared to ‘cup lump’ rubber which was currently being planted.

“By focusing on the production of latex and not ‘cup lump’ rubber, smallholders would enjoy the increase in the demand for rubber products and in the same vein address the incidence of poverty in the rubber plantations sector,” he said.

Commenting on the export of rubber products, the director general of MRB Zairossani Mohd Nor said that the export value of the rubber industry increased to RM17.8 billion in the first half of the year compared to RM15 billion a year prior.

Although hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, the country’s rubber industry has seen growth due to rubber glove demand.

“The export of rubber gloves from the period of January to June 2020 increased 40 per cent to RM12 billion compared to the same period last year,” he said