PHL rubber industry will soon share in worldwide market

AGRICULTURE Secretary Proceso J. Alcala is confident that the Philippines will soon capitalize on the growing demand for rubber as the country’s production is expected to grow by 3.7% in the next ten years. As such rubber price will increase and rubber demand will surge with the rise in the global motor vehicle production.

“We need to take advantage of the present opportunity in rubber and note that the Asia-Pacific is expected to continue to have the lion’s share in the production,” Alcala said.

The Agriculture chief added that the region is projected to account for 90% of the world’s rubber production in 2013 with Thailand and Indonesia producing almost 60% of natural rubber. A report from the Department of Trade and Industry shows that 70% of all natural rubber produced worldwide is used as raw materials in the manufacture of rubber tires, 18% is used in shoes and non-tire industrial rubber products like hoses and belts, while 12% goes to the manufacture of gloves.

The Philippines contributes a little over 1% of the entire world’s production of rubber with yield coming from small-farm owners with only 3 to 10 hectares of farm land.

“Although, we share very little for now, I am confident that we can become a major player soon because of our vast areas for production and adequate technical knowledge that our made available to our rubber planters,” Alcala said.

DA is set to improve the quality of produce using new technology and upgrade dilapidated processing facilities and provide cooperatives access to financing, infrastructure, and other support services.

At present, the government’s national program on rubber caters to the needs of the smallholders to enable them to meet the challenges in production, post-production and marketing. Current interventions have increased yield and intensified production of quality planting materials as well as empower producers to supply quality raw processed products.

The DA’s High Value Commercial Development Program, headed by its Program Director Jenny Remoquillo, currently implements the following initiatives for the development of the Philippine rubber industry:

• Improvement of rubber products to meet quality standards through training and education;

• Establishment, rehabilitation, and maintenance of production facilities to produce good quality planting materials, nursery, and bud wood garden;

• Accreditation of nursery operators for plant material certification and regulatory support;

• Establishment of science-based information on rubber;

• Conduct of Investment Missions to establish strong linkages with industry players and stakeholders.

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