Cambodia exported more than 282,071 tonnes of rubber last year, a 30 per cent increase from 2018’s 217,501 tonnes, a Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries report said.
The commodity reeled in $377 million in revenue last year, up 32 per cent from 2018’s $286 million, the report said.
Khoun Phalla, the director of the General Directorate of Rubber’s Administration and Legal Department, told The Post on Monday that increased demand was the main driver of the industry’s growth last year.
Rubber prices rose slightly but not enough to turn consumers away from the commodity, he said.
The average price last year was $1,336 per tonne, up $19 from 2018’s average price tag, he said. In December alone, the price averaged $1,371 per tonne, up $44 from November last year.
“China is the biggest market for Cambodia’s rubber right now. We export it to China through Vietnam. I expect rubber prices will remain stable this year,” he said.
The data also showed that a total of 406,142ha of rubber had been planted last year, with more than 247,113ha having been harvested.
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, Rubber Development Department deputy-director Kou Phally said earlier this month.
The study will focus on the Kingdom’s three dominant rubber-producing regions – Kampong Cham province’s Stung Trang district, Kratie province’s Snuol district, and Ratanakkiri province’s Bakeo district, he said.
Meanwhile, Rubber growers and exporters have expressed concern that prices will continue to fall as Thailand seeks to boost its natural rubber exports, said Sopheak Nika Investment Agro-Industrial Plants Co Ltd owner and director Men Sopheak.
In November, Thai Minister of Commerce Jurin Laksanawisit told a conference of reporters and rubber growers that Thailand will boost natural rubber exports to increase incomes for the latter following implementation of the four-month curb agreement, Reuters reported.
In March, the International Tripartite Rubber Council (ITRC), which comprises Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, agreed to reduce rubber exports by about 240,000 tonnes from late May to late September to buoy local prices.
The three Southeast Asian neighbours, which produce 70 per cent of the world’s natural rubber, ended up slashing exports by 441,648 tonnes during the period.