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Rubber draft law addresses regulatory holes

The government is drafting a rubber law to regulate the sector in response to the rapid growth of rubber plantations across the country, an official said.

Ly Phalla, director general of the General Directorate of Rubber at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said officials are drafting the law to address issues of quality management.

He told the Post that the draft law is intended to better regulate Cambodia’s rubber plantations to ensure that the quality of export be held to high standards. Currently, he added, some proccessors  are damaging the sector’s reputation through poor processing quality.

“To implement this work effectively, it is necessary to draft the rubber law,” Phalla said. “We are preparing this law; about 80 per cent [has been] completed, with a little remaining before [it’s] submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture.”

He added that the drafted law consists of over a hundred articles that cover the full spectrum of rubber production, from planting and harvesting to processing at high standards for export.

“Recently, [rubber] processing in some handicrafts [do not meet] the quality standard [set by the ministry], although our rubber has good quality,” Phalla said, adding that the draft law would be sent to the Ministry of Agriculture to be examined after the general election. Some owners of large-scale plantations fail to comply with the orders of the rubber directorate, he said.

According to figures from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Cambodian rubber plantations have grown by 31.5 per cent in 2012, reaching 280,355 hectares, up from 213,104 hectares in 2011. Rubber is currently harvested on 55,361 hectares, while rubber trees on the remaining 224,994 hectares are still growing. Dry rubber reached 64,524 tonnes in 2012, and Cambodia exported 59,917 tonnes.

Heng Sreng, director of Long Sreng International, which owns over 7,000 hectares of rubber plantation, said he has seen the draft law and believes it would be beneficial for the rubber industry. The law could help limit the number of different kinds of rubber trees farmed in the country, he said, which would standardise Cambodia’s exports.

“Our country will join hands to establish the ASEAN Economic Community, so we must ensure our rubber standards,” he said.

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