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18. November 2006

PHILIPPINES: Government allots 1-M hectares for rubber plantations

Source: "Philippine Daily Inquirer", Manila; 18 Nov 2006

TACLOBAN CITY -- The government plans to develop one
million hectares of land into rubber tree plantations,
given rising demand and prices for natural rubber in
the world market, an official said.

Most big rubber-producing countries have no room for
expanding their plantations, said Rodel Maghirang,
national coordinator of the agriculture department's
High Value Commercial Crops (HVCC) program.

He said that based on the present market trend there
would be a shortage of three to four million metric
tons of natural rubber in 2020.

Rubber is used mainly to make tires and the rest as
raw material for gloves, medical equipment and shoes.

Maghirang said the expansion of rubber tree
plantations would be mainly in Mindanao, although some
areas in Luzon and the Visayas would also be developed.

He said the Eastern Visayas region, where this city is
situated, was not among the areas being considered
because the weather and type of soil are not suitable
for rubber trees.

He urged the HVCC program implementers in the region
to encourage farmers to go into coffee production. He
said there was big demand for high-quality coffee
beans, which sell at P83-P300 a kilogram, and the
country imports about 60 percent its supply of coffee beans.

But as a long-term commercial crop, Maghirang said the
region should stick to the planting of pili trees.

(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)

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