The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and civil society are working together to improve the value chain of natural rubber make production more sustainable and boost economic growth.
This comes as the Kingdom earned $611,770,814 from rubber-related exports in 2021, up from $482 million a year earlier. Broken down by category, 366,300 tonnes of natural rubber latex accounted for $610,255,800, and 454 cubic metres of rubber wood notched up $1,515,015, according to the ministry’s General Directorate of Rubber.
To maintain this growth, the directorate has been seeking cooperation with civil society and rubber growers in a number of provinces to increase the sustainable production of natural latex and stabilise prices.
At a workshop on sustainable natural rubber value chains held in Mondulkiri province on February 15, Pheng Muthavy, head of the directorate’s Department of Rubber Development, heralded commitment to multi-actor partnerships in the field as “important steps” and a source of pride for his department.
“Rubber is regarded as ‘white gold’ and its production represents an important industry highly prioritised by the Royal Government of Cambodia – although ranked lower than rice – and it’s a strategic crop that has brought many benefits to the national economy, society and the environment, and has notably contributed to increasing farmers’ incomes, creating jobs and occupations in rural areas, thereby reducing migration,” he said.
World Wide Fund for Nature- (WWF) Cambodia country director Seng Teak underlined that considerable effort was needed from all stakeholders to bring the sector to its current state, voicing appreciation for the active engagement and support of the public and private sectors, local communities, academia, civil society and other key actors.
“We know that the real hard work lies ahead, but from the today’s event in Mondulkiri we send a clear message – the multi-actor partnership is a stakeholder platform owned by the multiple actors who have committed to and taken collective action for green and inclusive growth,” he said.
He added that a functional and active multi-actor partnership will support rubber supply chain transparency and traceability, uphold sustainable and fair business practices, and enhance yields.
Ben Corrigan, regional project coordinator for German NGO Welthungerhilfe, lauded the event as an “important milestone” not only in Cambodia but across the Southeast Asian region, with partners in Myanmar and Thailand, calling it “vital to our strategic partnership with the WWF Network”.
“I’m confident that we can identify and drive forward joint solutions for sustainable natural rubber by pooling together, the resources and talents of government, civil society, industry and smallholders,” he said.
He said that the members of the Pich Chreada Agricultural Cooperative are absolutely crucial in this journey, pointing out that they produce a substantial share of domestic rubber output, especially for the automotive industry.