Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rubber bouncing up

Rubber bouncing up

Rubber bouncing up

110606_8

A boy walks through a rubber plantation in Kampong Cham province in March. Photo by: Sovan Philong

CAMBODIA’S rubber industry has expanded rapidly in recent years, but a variety of challenges restrict further advancement of the increasingly lucrative crop, according to experts.

Low-tech materials, quality, maintenance, harvesting and climate change were among the main concerns raised by Director General of Rubber Department Ly Phalla, at a workshop held Friday aiming to improve yields.

“These issues require close cooperation from concerned stakeholders within the industry and rubber producing countries who conduct research,” he said.

Ly Phalla also highlighted the importance of genetic diversification of rubber plants to improve yields and reduce risk.

The sector has seen rapid improvements and become part of the Kingdom’s economic backbone. Plantations have increased in size from 66,000 hectares in 1968, to 181,500 hectares last year, he said.

Prices for rubber have increased this year, according to producers.

Mak Kim Hong, Director General of Chub Rubber Plantation in Kampong Cham province, said his rubber fetched an average of US$5,450 in the first quarter of 2011, compared to about $2,000 last year.

Technical assistance provided by the ministry and development partners has helped to improve methods and yields among local farmers, according to Hor So Vattanak, owner of a 35 hectare rubber plantation in Memot district of Kampong Cham province.

“Our plantations have greatly improved and we are seeing better yields and although climate change had a slight impact, we are not too concerned,” he said.

However, due to the current lack of funding, it is difficult to process rubber for export to neighbouring countries such as Vietnam, he said.

“We normally sell our unprocessed rubber to local buyers based on market prices, but we don’t have the resources to set up a processing plant.”

Cambodia’s total rubber exports grew 65.8 percent to 11,821 tonnes in first quarter of 2011 compared year-on-year, while the total value increased from US$18,026,307 in the first quarter 2010 to $54,959,190 in the same period this year, according to data obtained from the Ministry of Commerce in April.

MOST VIEWED

  • Malaysia MP accused of ‘influencing law’

    Malaysian Member of Parliament (MP) Larry Sng arrived in Siem Reap early on Wednesday, in what was slammed by one NGO as efforts by Kuala Lumpur to “influence Cambodian law”. The Malaysian Embassy in Phnom Penh requested on January 30 “cooperation from the Ministry of Foreign

  • Ministries begin measures to offset EU’s EBA decision

    In the wake of the EU’s controversial announcement this week that it has begun the withdrawal process for Cambodia’s Everything But Arms (EBA) preferential agreement, government ministries and political analysts continued to share their reactions and economic mitigation plans in preparation for the

  • Emirates launches route connecting Phnom Penh, Bangkok

    Emirates will launch a daily service on June 1 linking Phnom Penh (PNH) and Bangkok (BKK). The service from Phnom Penh to Dubai, via Bangkok, will provide more flight options to passengers travelling between the capitals of Cambodia and Thailand. Travellers from the Southeast Asian nations

  • US Embassy urged to stop ‘disrespecting sovereignty’

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation called on the US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Saturday to respect the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations after it called former opposition leader Kem Sokha “an innocent man” – a move deemed to be “disrespecting Cambodia’s