Trade Secretary Gregory L. Domingo welcomed this new investment project saying, “This project will benefit the rubber industry as among the new growth sectors we want to nurture for industry development. Its multiplier effect will bring in more export revenues and jobs.”
The project, owned by Zanorte Palm-Rubber Plantation,Inc., will develop rubber plantations integrated with processing to produce dried rubber.
The firm will sell the products in bulk quantity and in various grades to local firms that use rubber as basic material to manufacture final end-products such as tires and shoes. Initial target buyers are Dunlop, Bridgestone, and Yokohama.
“Our country is well positioned to harness the potential of rubber to meet local and global demand. We recognize the strategic value of this industry as it is strongly linked with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and other allied industries which will generate jobs in the countryside,” said Undersecretary for Industry Development and Trade Policy Adrian S. Cristobal Jr.
“There are areas in the country that can be tapped for rubber plantations and we are confident we can meet the demand.”
The Department of Agriculture (DA), under its high value crops program, has identified opportunities for the rubber industry which include its potential for exports because of the global demand and increasing prices of rubber in the world market. It is also identified to help in watershed rehabilitation projects.
In 2010, data from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) showed that the country’s total rubber production was around 395,237 metric tons spread over 138,710 hectares in the country. The average yield for rubber is 2.9 metric tons, with dry rubber accounting for 0.94 metric tons per hectare.
Under the existing Philippine Rubber Roadmap 2011-2016, the industry is aiming for 200,000 hectares of rubber plantation by 2016.
From 2009 to 2010, the Philippines was a net exporter of natural rubber products. Through the project, rubber production is expected to increase by 4.183M kilograms yearly.
Around 70 percent of the country’s rubber production is exported to other countries. The Philippines likewise ranked seventh in the world in terms of natural rubber production in 2009, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The project will start developing nurseries this year by planting seedlings in a 2,000-hectare plantation. Net value added is projected at 78 to 79 percent and 1,400 jobs are estimated to be generated once operational.
Rubber is a basic ingredient for products utilized in the transportation, industrial, consumer, and medical sectors. Transportation sector alone makes up 50 percent of rubber requirements for tire products.
Non-tire rubber items include industrial products (e.g., transmission and elevator belts, hoses and tubes, industrial lining, bridge bearings, etc.); consumer products (e.g., golf or football balls and other recreational and sports goods, erasers, footwear, etc.); and articles for use in the medical and health sector (e.g., condoms, catheters, surgical gloves, etc.) as well as seismic materials.
The rubber plantation project is aligned with the BOI’s partnership with the Mindanao Development Authority to boost investments in the region.
The partnership will enable the BOI and MinDA to work together to create a trade and investment database, capacity building, and joint investment facilitation, and promotions programs.
Mindanao is a richly endowed region, producing some of the country’s key exports such as tropical fruits, marine products and rubber.
As of January this year, key agriculture-based projects have been approved particularly in Mindanao, including a banana plantation project in Davao.(PNA)
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