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04. October 2005

MYANMAR: Myanmar to implement strategic rubber plantation project

Source: "People's Daily", Beijing; 4 Oct 2005

Myanmar has urged national entrepreneurs to participate in a major and strategic rubber plantation project which targets to grow up to 600,000 hectares of the crop by 2030, a local news journal reported Tuesday. Besides, foreign investment in the project is also being invited, the state-run Myanma Perennial Crops Enterprise was quoted as saying.

According to the enterprise's statistics, Myanmar's rubber cultivated area was 76,950 hectares in 1988 and the area has increased to 202,500 hectares in the fiscal year 2004-05 which ended in March with a production of over 50,000 tons. From the present 202,500 hectares of rubber plantations, the cultivated area is to be initially increased nearly twice to 364,500 hectares in 2007-08 fiscal year under a cultivation expansion plan of the crop, the sources disclosed, adding that the plan will be implemented in three phases that is 20,250 hectares be grown in 2005-06, 60,750 hectares in 2006-07 and 81,000 hectares in 2007-08.

Rubber, along with jute, cotton, edible crop, stands a main industrial crop in Myanmar. Myanmar exports about 25,000 to 30,000 tons of rubber a year, mainly to China and Singapore, the sources said, adding that there exists a potential to sharply raise the exports to China which represents one of the world's largest rubber consumers and relies imports for half of its demand. According to the enterprise, Myanmar produces about 40,000 tons of rubber annually from 72,900 hectares cultivated. Rubber is grown mainly in Tanintharyi, Bago and Yangon divisions and Mon and Rakhine states.

(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)

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