The General Directorate of Rubber announced a joint study on family-owned rubber plantations in three provinces to better understand how growers have responded to the sharp drop in rubber prices over the past nine years.
The average cost of rubber has fallen from around $4,600 per tonne in 2011 to about $1,350 per tonne in early 2020, according to its report.
In a meeting with Jean-Christophe Diepart, an independent researcher from the University of Liege’s Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech in Belgium, General Directorate of Rubber director-general Pol Sopha said the two parties would begin the study to better understand farmers’ challenges and how they responded to the price decline.
The study will focus on the Kingdom’s three dominant rubber-producing regions – Kampong Cham’s Stung Trang district; Kratie’s Snuol district; and Ratanakkiri’s Bakeo district.
“The study is scheduled to begin in mid-January 2020,” a press release said, adding that the study would focus on getting a better understanding of how growers produce the commodity and bring it to market.
Rubber Development Department deputy-director Kou Phally told The Post on Friday that the study would conclude by June.
“After we complete the report we will incorporate its findings into government policy for the rubber sector. We chose to study family-owned plantations because they are not related to land concessions,” Phally said.
There are currently 30,000 families growing rubber on 170,000ha of land, Phally said, noting that farmers who grow on less than 45ha are considered to be family operations.
Phally said the global output of rubber is 14 million tonnes per annum, but demand was only around 13.8 million tonnes.
“One of the main causes of the drop in global rubber prices is due to oversupply,” he said.
Cambodia exported 233,677 tonnes of rubber valued at $311 million in the first 11 months of last year – a 24 per cent increase over the same period in 2018.
The report also showed that a total of 434,552ha of rubber had been planted by November of last year with more than 230,000ha of rubber having been harvested.