3-million hectares of new rubber plantations needed
by Prix D Banzon
Davao City (28 November) -- There is a need to open 3.09 million hectares of new rubber plantations to become productive by 2020.
Ben D. Santander, Economic Planning Unit Head-Zamboanga Sibugay Province and DOLE XI Jobs creation thru Rubber Plantation Development Council said the new areas could respond to the 3.4 million metric ton gap between production and consumption.
He said the increasing demand for natural rubber in the world market estimated at 3 to 4 millin metric tons by 2023 with the industrialization of giant Asian Economies - China and India.
Given this scenario he said the country still has available vast undeveloped land that is good for rubber plantation development.
Based on government data, the Philippines consists of about 33-million hectares of land.
Record of the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics showed that only 11 million hectares are cultivated to various crops and 22 million hectares are vacant or devoted to reserved forests for water catchment areas or agro-forestry.
He said Mindanao accounts for the biggest slice of vacant areas suitable for perennial crops like rubber, abaca and oil palm.
Rubber he said has high economic return per unit area with low cost of production as well as low usage of inorganic fertilizer and chemicals.
The crop is eco-friendly, preserves environmental stability with high jobs creation ratio and suited to most types of soil.
It is not prone to spoilage or wastage, he said.
He said it is high foreign exchange earner and suitable price regime over the long term.
Santander said the price of rubber has been on the rise since 2001 and seen to continue its upward trend to at least 2025 due to supply gap.
The cost of production he said is comparatively low at P70,000 to P80,000 unlike the High Value Commercial Crops such as banana which is pegged at P300,000 to P1 million per hectare.
He said growing rubber could be an instrument for OFW economic reintegration through GOMA-Galing OFW, Mag-invest sa Agrikultura. (PIA) [top]