Government to stretch rubber industry to full potential

Richmond Mercurio - The Philippine Star
Government to stretch rubber industry to full potential

MANILA, Philippines — The government intends to stretch the rubber industry to its full potential, citing its importance in achieving the country’s dream of inclusive growth.

“This industry is critical in helping achieve President Duterte’s vision of real inclusive growth since the rubber production sector involves over 55,000 small farmers/growers,” Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said.

 Lopez said a cluster approach that addresses the gaps and opportunities in the entire value chain from the rubber production to processing and manufacturing of finished products is the way to go for the sector.

“DTI is committed to expand market and processing opportunities for their products by bringing in more investors for rubber processing and rubber-based products, like tire companies, and linking them with the local rubber suppliers,” he said.

Lopez said Philippine rubber could be used for rubberized asphalt for road projects in the government’s Build Build Build program.

Meanwhile, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said rubber has a crucial role in the reformatting of the Philippine agriculture plan.

“The agricultural areas I’ve visited suffer from the same problems: soil erosion and landslides. These are indications of poor agricultural planning—where farmers are planting crops where we should be planting rubber trees,” Piñol said.

The country is currently a minor producer of rubber, yielding one of the natural rubber in the world as compared to top producers such as Indonesia and Thailand that produce 25 percent and 34 percent of global production, respectively.

Despite this, the DTI said the Philippine rubber industry is steadily growing. Rubber production grew 8.9 percent  in the fourth quarter of 2017.

About 90 percent of the rubber farmers in the country are small growers, most of them are from the Mindanao region like the Zamboanga Peninsula, SOCCSKSARGEN and ARMM.

The Philippine Rubber Industry Roadmap 2017–2022 outlines steps in the aspects of production and productivity improvement, processing and manufacturing, domestic and export marketing, research and development, finance and investment promotion, and policy formulation and advocacy.

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