Media Statement by Baru Bian
13 January 2012
Clonal Rubber Seeds do not exist
I refer to an item in the Borneo Post dated 11 January 2012 page D1 headlined ‘15 million 1Malaysia Rubber Clone Seeds for adoption’ in which the DLT Group of Companies is reported to be offering 1Malaysia Rubber Clone Seeds for adoption to any interested farmers in the state under the Rubber Seeds Adoption Programme purportedly “the fruit of work, research and development”. This is also reported in Sin Chew Daily on 11 January 2012 at page 7.
I have been informed by highly knowledgeable consultants that there is no such thing as a ‘clonal seed’ because any seed produced by the cloned tree does not necessarily bear the characteristics of that clonal parent. All the seed produced from a clonal tree will be different and not necessarily of good quality. It is therefore not accurate to say that the seed are of the 1Malaysia clone or better than any other rubber seed produced from any other rubber tree whether it be cloned or not.
I was informed that the DLT Group of companies is willing to let farmers have the seeds for free but that in order to produce clonal plants for planting and production they must grow the seeds and then graft buds onto them of legitimate clones such as 1Malaysia, PB260, RRIM2023 etc. etc. From where do the DLT Group of Companies expect the farmers to obtain the buds and how much will they have to pay for them? Will the DLT Group of Companies also be supplying buds free of charge?
I would like to advise all farmers that they need not get seed from DLT or any other company or Government Department as all they need to do is collect any seed from any type of rubber tree growing in the jungle, grow it on until it has the stem size of a pencil and then graft onto it a bud from a legitimate and certified clone that is produced from a budwood nursery.
It has been made known to me that the DLT Group of Companies is one of the licensees of the Malaysian Rubber Board who are licensed to produce the 1Malaysia clones and therefore presumably budwood. They would presumably have received some funding from the Board to carry out the production. I would like to propose supplying deserving farmers subsidized or free of charge-cloned buds. At the same time it is crucial that RISDA educate these farmers to do this cloning process.
Something does not seem right in this whole scenario. Firstly, the role of the Rubber Board, if I’m not mistaken, is to help the rural people who wish to plant rubber trees and make some money from the latex. Why then have two private companies been chosen to adopt 1 million and 700,000 seeds and an individual 1 million seeds? This is helping the big players and not those people who truly need the help. Where does this leave the farmer who has a small plot of land?
Secondly, the way which the DLT Group of companies is conducting their business causes me great alarm as a lot of the farmers will be misled by the claims that they will be given the 1Malaysia clone seeds. After they have been given the seeds, from where will they obtain the high quality buds that they need to graft onto the plants that they grow from these seeds to produce plants for establishment in their smallholdings?
From the press report it appears that the said 1Malaysia clone is very good. It would be helpful to all if Dr. Luhat could furnish us with the performance data of this clone as recorded and reported from field trials in Sarawak and which have been conducted by a reliable testing organization in this State. This would give credence and confidence to all interested parties especially the poor rural farmers. Our rural folk just want to be able to get some good and reliably certified rubber clones so that they can work towards self-sufficiency.
N70 Ba’ Kelalan