Posted on September 22nd, 2009
In the Philippines, natural rubber production remains an emerging industry even though the country started growing trees at around the same time as Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia. These three countries at present supplies 75 percent of the worldâ€™s rubber requirement.
This year though, the Philippines is hopeful that there will be an increase in the countryâ€™s rubber production because of higher demand for tires, footwear, and other rubber-made products, said the Department of Agriculture (DA).
Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said the country remains optimistic about meeting its full-year rubber production goals of 440,600 tons of rubber, 7.2 percent higher than last yearâ€™s output. In 2008, the output reached 411,000 MTs, 1.72 percent higher than the previous yearâ€™s 404,070 MTs.
But in spite of the increased production, the total production value fell by more than seven percent to P16.03 billion last year from P17.26 billion in 2007, primarily because of lower commodity prices.
For the first six months of this year, rubber harvest declined slightly, reaching 69,730 MTs, lower than 169,980 MT during the same period last year.
Yap said that while the Philippines lags behind its regional counterparts in rubber productions, he is still optimistic that the country will become a â€œmajor playerâ€ in this industry in the coming years. â€œWestern Mindanao is home to nearly half of the countryâ€™s 123,300 hectares of rubber farms,â€ he said.
In 2006, the government started a 10-year National Rubber Development Program, a program intended to enhance the sectorâ€™s productivity and competitiveness.
There are an estimated 190,000 Filipinos depending on the industry for their livelihood, with 38,000 families into rubber farming, 18,000 working as part-time off-farmers and another 20,00 being employed as tappers.
There are 30 existing rubber processing centers in the country which provide employment for 600 processors and 700 buyers and traders.