The National Association of Smallholders Malaysia (NASH) had urged the government to reintroduce the smallholder palm oil replanting assistance scheme in the budget tomorrow.
NASH deputy president Adzmi Hassan said this was the main issue raised by the smallholders based on their nationwide visits since 2018.
"We already raised this issue during the budget 2021 preparation dialogue with the Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry (MPIC) on Sept 12 in Ipoh, Perak.
"The association had organised several programmes with the smallholders and conducted meetings with the ministry to highlight the issue.
"I hope the minister Datuk Dr Khairuddin Aman Razali can consider this," he said in a statement.
He said 40 per cent of the palm oil industry was made up of smallholders.
He said NASH believed the reintroduction of the scheme was crucial for the sustainability of oil palm plantations in this country.
"We hope the 2021 budget can help those in the sector, especially palm oil smallholders," he said, adding that the government must also increase the the Rubber Production Incentive (IPG) scheme from RM2.50 to RM3.50 per kilogram.
"We asked for this due to the inflation rate before the COVID-19 increases every year.
"Thus, smallholders who own land less than two hectares will face income problems due to the unstable scrap price," he said.
Meanwhile, Adzmi said NASH echoed Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's statement on issuing temporary work permits to illegal foreign workers in the country.
He said this would help to overcome the shortage of workforce in the palm oil and rubber industries, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Smallholders are facing a shortage of workers for the harvesting as majority of labourers supplied by the agency are immigrants.
"This could affect their productivity - the incentive can help them cater to this issue," he said.