August 20, 2016

Low rubber prices leave Myanmar rubber market in hopeless position

Rubber latex is collected in a bowl. Photo: Reuters
Rubber latex is collected in a bowl. Photo: Reuters

THE Myanmar rubber market is in a hopeless position following tumble of rubber prices which continue to fall, according to an official from the Myanmar Rubber Planters and Producers Association.
“The price of rubber at home and abroad has continued to slump year after year. Price is expected to stay low this year. It is impossible for rubber farmers to store their products for a certain period to fetch good price as farm workers must be paid by selling rubber at the price they are given,” said U Khaing Myint, secretary of the association.
The secretary forecast that prices will not change this year.
Rubber latex collection season in Myanmar ends in mid May annually. Although some farm owners store rubber until the end of the rainy season it has not affected the price.
Rubber trading is at a price of US$1250 a ton for RSS-3 variety on the world market but Myanmar rubber farmers fetch $900 a ton for the variety grown here.
It is found that growers fail to accept the concept of growing high quality rubber to fetch good prices, said the secretary who is also a rubber farm owner.
Despite the market sending the price up and down, we never have a good price as the quality of our products does not meet international standards, said the farm owner, stressing the need to produce quality products to get a good price.
According to rubber planters and producers, Myanmar rubber cannot meet the quality as demanded by foreign buyers.
Annual per acre yield for rubber in Myanmar is about 700 pounds while farms of neighbouring countries have outputs from 500 to 1800 pounds an acre, they said.
U Khaing Myint highlighted the importance of knowing whether foreign varieties could be grown here.
Despite having 1.6 million acres across the country, rubber latex production comes from 600,000 acres of farmland. The country exported only 75,000 tons of rubber last year. We hope to export around 80,000 tons this year, the secretary of Myanmar Rubber Planters and Producers Association said.


Soe Soe Yu


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