A $3 million initiative to purify the quality of rubber trees planted across the country is intended to spur farmers to plant more rubber, a government official said.
Ly Phalla, director general of the General Directorate of Rubber at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said last week that the project would examine different varieties of rubber and determine the best types for farmers to grow.
He said the project, commenced this year and expected to be completed in 2015, would cover more than 100 hectares of rubber plantations across the country.
“We do whatever we can to purify all kinds of rubber. Any farms examined by me must be posted with a billboard saying ‘recognised by the general [rubber] directorate’, so the farmers will know that planting is not wrong, because it is recognised, ” he said.
He said Cambodian farmers plant around 50 or 60 different kinds of rubber, but only six kinds are particularly popular among farmers.
Mak Kimhong, director general of the Chup Rubber Plantation and president of the Cambodia Rubber Plantation Association, said high-yield varieties of rubber were dependent on the type of soil, and therefore purifying rubber could help it find the right kind of soil.
“Mistakes with planting rubber even one time is wrong for 30 years, so to purify is very good for this agri-industry,” he said, adding that some activities should be done to enhance the quality of rubber output.
According to Phalla, Cambodian rubber plantations grew 31.5 per cent, to 280,355 hectares in 2012, from 213,104 hectares in 2011.
Cambodia has 55,361 hectares of rubber plantations that are ready for harvesting, while the remaining plantations covering 224,994 hectares are still growing. The quantity of dry rubber was 64,524 tonnes in 2012, and Cambodia exported 59,917 tonnes.
Phalla told the Post last week that his officials are drafting a law on rubber for managing the processes of the business in Cambodia, in order to ensure quality for export.