MANILA, Philippines – The government is looking to develop the country’s rubber industry to take advantage of an expected increase in the production of tires of its major market, a trade official said.
Trade undersecretary for regional operations and development group Merly Cruz said the department is looking to promote the rubber industry as Yokohama Tire Philippines Inc., the country’s major market for its rubber, is expected to raise its production of tires by 2017.
“(The) Philippines has 136,000 hectares planted to rubber but supplying only six percent of Yokohama Tire Philippines’ current requirements,” she said in a text message.
She said Yokohama Tire currently produces 21,000 tires per day and its production capacity is seen to expand to 50,000 tires per day by 2017.
Yokohama Tire’s higher output, she said, would be a very good opportunity for the local rubber industry.
“We are eyeing to increase Philippine rubber share (in Yokohama Tire’s requirement) to 50 percent by 2017,” she said.
Yokohama Tire, a subsidiary of the Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. of Japan, is located at the Clark Freeport Zone and has more than 1,600 regular employees. About 96 percent of its production is exported around the world, while the balance is for local sales.
Cruz said areas planted to rubber in the country may have to be increased by 40 percent in the next three to four years to achieve higher rubber output.
Data from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics showed that as of the first quarter, the country’s rubber production reached 66,710 metric tons, up 7.68 percent from the same period a year ago.
Apart from increasing rubber plantations, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Cruz said, is looking at other activities to support the industry and improve the capacity of industry players to build better product quality.
She said the DTI is organizing the Philippine Rubber Investments and Market Encounter (PRIME), an event aimed at providing access to market and investment opportunities for the rubber industry.
PRIME, which will be undertaken for the first time, will be held in September in Clark, Pampanga.
Cruz said the DTI is also conducting studies aimed at providing further support for the rubber industry.
She said the rubber industry is among the 32 industries the department is looking to develop in the next three to four years given the potential to contribute to the country’s economic growth.
Rubber production, she said, is seen to provide jobs in several parts of the country, noting that while production is primarily in Mindanao, there are already start-ups in Luzon and Visayas.
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