Cambodian rubber exports declined 3 per cent year-on-year during the first two months of 2012, according to figures from the Ministry of Commerce.
The value of the exports fell by nearly a third.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries attributed the slight decrease to the end of the rubber cultivation period and maintained that the exports would continue to rise throughout 2012.
The drop did, however, catch officials by surprise.
“I didn’t think that there would be a decrease [this year] because in 2011 we exported US$200 million in rubber,” Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Chan Sarun said on Monday, adding that many plantations were just reaching the cultivation stage.
The Kingdom exported 9,745 tonnes of rubber worth US$30.9 million in January and February, down from 10,047 tonnes at $45.7 million during the same period in 2011, data showed.
Rubber plantations increased by 17 per cent in 2011, reaching 21,3104 hectares.
Chan Sarun said the country would cultivate 400,000 hectares of rubber in 2020.
Exports in 2011 jumped 55 per cent year-on-year to 46,727 tonnes, Ministry of Commerce data showed.
The trade was worth $200.9 million.
One tonne of top-quality rubber sold for $3,700 in January and February, Lieng Chanthivuth, a board member at Prosperity Agriculture Development Co Ltd, said yesterday.
The same quality rubber sold for as much as $5,000 in early 2011.
To contact the reporter on this story: Sieam Bunthy at email@example.com