Vietnam Rubber Group JSC’s (VRG) natural-rubber processing plants in Cambodia have reportedly produced 109,526 tonnes of latex this year, equivalent to 78.23 per cent of the firm’s full-year target, as it strives to meet international demand for the milky white sap, especially from China – the biggest market for Vietnamese rubber.
These figures were disclosed by the Vietnamese state-owned enterprise’s CEO, Le Thanh Hung, at a meeting with Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon on August 23, according to a statement posted on the minister’s official Facebook page.
In a message to The Post, VRG’s representative office in Cambodia noted that the company, through 16 subsidiaries, has invested in rubber plantations in the Kingdom since 2007, which now cover 74,000ha out of an allotted area of nearly 90,000ha across Kratie, Ratanakkiri, Kampong Thom, Mondulkiri, Siem Reap, Oddar Meanchey and Preah Vihear provinces. The firm also operates six latex processing plants: four in Kampong Thom and one in each of Kratie and Ratanakkiri.
VRG says on its website that as external natural-rubber demand outstrips domestic production, Vietnamese companies must invest in plantations in neighbouring countries such as Cambodia and Laos to keep pace, shipping the latex to Vietnam for processing before re-export to other markets, especially China.
The agriculture minister noted in the statement that VRG’s operations have significantly contributed to economic growth in Cambodia, providing employment for some 20,000 people in rural areas this year.
Sakhon also commented that rubber cultivation has helped improve green cover in Cambodia and encourage the construction of rural infrastructure.
“Cambodia hopes that going forward, the Vietnam Rubber Group will keep working with the [ministry’s] General Directorate of Rubber to further improve management of rubber cultivation and production,” he said.
Hung thanked the agriculture ministry and Prime Minister Hun Sen “for their support and encouragement of Vietnamese agro-industrial investment”, the statement said.
The directorate reported that from January to July, Cambodian exports of rubber latex and wood respectively amounted to 161,562 tonnes worth $254.838 million and 17,529 cubic metres worth $2.611 million, the former of which was down by 558 tonnes or 0.34 per cent year-on-year.