CAMBODIA’S rubber exports to international markets increased by an annualised 36 percent in 2009, according to official figures obtained from the Department of CamControl Tuesday.
Data show that the Kingdom exported 32,871 tonnes of rubber worth about US$61 million to Vietnam through the Trapaing Thlong border in Kampong Cham province and O’Yadav crossing in Ratanakiri province last year.
Around 24,199 tonnes of rubber, worth about $45 million, were exported in 2008.
Commentators believe the real amount of rubber leaving the country may have been even higher than CamControl’s statistics, due to still-prevalent illegal smuggling.
Ly Phalla, director general of the Cambodian Rubber Plantation Department (CRP), told the Post Tuesday: “We believe that the real quantity of rubber which Cambodia exported last year would be more than what was shown in the official statistics, considering the amount of rubber plantations in the country in 2009.”
The real quantity of rubber which Cambodia exported last year would be more.
According to statistics from the CRP, Cambodia had 34,000 hectares of yielding rubber plantations in 2009.
Ly Phalla added that Cambodia may be able to harvest at least 60,000 tonnes of rubber in 2010, as 50,000 hectares of trees would reach yielding maturity this year.
However, Mork Kim Hong, president of the Cambodian Rubber Association, said he believes that although the country has produced newly yielding trees, others have been cut down and replaced with other crops.
“We agree that there are newly yielding trees, but we do not think that rubber output will be very high,” he said, adding that at present, average output at big plantations is 1.4 tonne per hectare. At smaller plantations it can be up to 2 tonnes per hectare, he said.
Nevertheless, Cambodia’s rubber exports have increased each year since crop prices on international markets increased in 2008.
In 2009, Cambodia’s rubber price was between $1,000 and $3,100 per tonne. This high price has been echoed in recent months on international markets.
According to Bloomberg, rubber futures traded in Japan have advanced 7 percent so far this year, after doubling in 2009.
Production has fallen, while global economic recovery and government stimulus measures in China and the United States have boosted demand for tyres.
Regional rise in output
Rubber output in Malaysia, the world’s third-largest grower, is set to rise by 17 percent this year as farmers boost yields to benefit from high prices, a Bloomberg report said Tuesday.
Malaysia’s Minister for Plantation Industries Bernard Dompok said that production may reach 1 million tonnes in 2010 from 856,189 tonnes last year.
India, the world’s fourth-biggest producer, increased production by 6.7 percent last month after record prices prompted farmers to boost yields in the main growing region, the state-operated rubber board said.
Predictions that rubber production will continue to be on the rise worldwide during this year have also been echoed by the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries, an organisation of which Cambodia is the newest member following admission last year.
On March 1, the association said that output was set to surge in Vietnam, Malaysia and India between February and April this year, typically a period of low production.