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05. September 2006

PHILIPPINES: Ambitious rubber program planned

Source: Daily "The Manila Bulletin", Manila; 5 Sept 2006

The Philippines will try to catch up with other South
East Asian countries in supplying the brisk demand for
rubber in the world market through a 15-year program
that will raise its export to $ 960 million from its
presently low production valued at P8.824 billion.

The Philippines’ rubber exports are now at just $ 36.5
million with only 29 million bearing trees and
production of 315,600 metric tons (MT). In 15 years,
area should be at one million hectares with an average
yield of two MT per hectare per year, creating one
million new jobs and generating foreign exchange
earnings.

"We will convince potential investors and current
growers, including LGUs (local government units), to
open up new areas in Mindanao, Luzon, Visayas,
particularly in these provinces — Benguet, Isabela,
Pampanga, Occidental Mindoro, Camarines Sur, Antique,
Palawan, Negros Occidental, and Negros Oriental," said
Agriculture Secretary Domingo F. Panganiban during a
launching of the program.

The Philippines lags behind its neighbors in the
Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)
including Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia which are the
top three rubber producers in the world.

Government will put up clonal garden as source of
budwood for multiplication of new rubber clones
totalling to 10 million seedlings for planting in
20,000 hectares this year. Nurseries to be established
in Cotabato and Kidapawan City will be located in 100
barangays in 17 municipalities.

At present, Cotabato has a total area of 22,315
hectares with 10.35 million bearing trees which
produced 99,819 MT of natural rubber worth P2.52
billion.

A report of Hidde P. Smit indicated that demand for
natural rubber will grow steadily up to 2020 such that
a 3.4 million MT gap will be created between normal
production of natural rubber and consumption.
Moreover, natural rubber prices will go up from
approximately $ 1.2 per kilo in 2005 to about $ 2.8
per kilo in 2020.

Government will try to increase national average yield
from one MT per hectare in 2005 to two MT per hectare
by 2020. Strategies for growth include training and
education of farmers and post harvest technologies
expansion including maintenance of post harvest
equipment; price incentive for good quality cup lumps
or dry rubber; upgrading of efficiency and cost
economy of existing processing facilities; and
establishment of additional processing facilities to
absorb increased production.

Government will strictly implement the Philippine
National Standards (PNS) for controlling quality of
rubber to conform with international standards. Loan
guarantees are being proposed to finance rubber
growing while foreign and local investments will also
be encouraged.

It is also considering to professionalise rubber farm
workers (tappers, budders) through training while
encouraging valueadding activities in industries. It
will prohibit export of raw rubber to generate more
jobs at the processing level.

Markets for natural rubber in primary form include
Malaysia, China, and Taiwan.

Among the rubberproducing provinces in the country are
Zamboanga Sibugay, 26,658 hectares; Basilan, 7,463
hectares; Zamboanga del Norte, 7,408; Agusan del Sur,
5,385; Bukidnon, 4,265; Compostela Valley, 4,123;
Davao del Sur, 1,132; Davao del Norte, 705; Sultan
Kudarat, 500; Saranggani, 454; Maguindanao, 412; Davao
City, 331; Lanao del Sur, 225; and Misamis Oriental,
216.



(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)

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