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January 27, 2020

Profitable rubber production requires quality

Workers of a rubber plantation pouring rubber saps into the buckets.  Photo: MITV

With an offer to purchase good-quality rubber by an international company this year, local rubber producers need to produce a higher grade of rubber, said U Khine Myint, the secretary of the Myanmar Rubber Planting and Producing Association.
“The company will purchase good-quality rubber for a good price. Therefore, if the rubber producers want to get a higher price, they have to put all of their efforts to raise the quality of the rubber to keep up with international rubber quality,” said U Khine Myint.
Myanmar does not get a high price for rubber in the international market because Myanmar has produced poorer quality rubber over the last 10 years. The Myanmar Rubber Planting and Producing Association is also providing awareness talks to local rubber cultivators across the country to produce higher quality rubber. Therefore, the quality of rubber has slightly increased this year compared to last year, he added. “Most of the rubber cultivators are using only the traditional rubber cultivation system. Limited training and technical assistance provided by rubber association is not effective for our local farmers,” said Daw Lin Lin Tun, the owner of a rubber farm in Hlaingbwe Township in Kayin State.
“Our local rubber businessmen want good-quality rubber. But, we do not receive their technical assistance in our village. Just we have to find out from the internet. Unskilled labour is another reason we were unable to produce high-quality rubber. We don’t have skilled labour in our villages. To be able to get the good-quality rubber, we will take care of our rubber fields, said Daw Lin Lin Tun.
China usually buys about 70 per cent of Myanmar’s rubber. The other 30 per cent is shipped to Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. Currently, there is demand in foreign markets for high-quality rubber.
To be able to produce high-quality rubber, the government needs to provide technical assistance and set up a research and development centre, said U Khine Myint. Myanmar needs to export high-quality rubber as well as to invite investors to invest in production of finished rubber products, he added. Indonesia and Malaysia widely cultivate rubber in their countries. But they need more raw rubber products because they are producing a lot of finished rubber products. Therefore, they have to import the raw rubber from our country. Myanmar also needs to product finished rubber products, which can also create job opportunities for local people, said U Khine Myint.
Although foreign investors are interested to invest in rubber production, the lack of electricity and transport infrastructure have kept the investments at the planning stage.
Currently, the price of RSS 3 rubber is around US$1700 per ton. Myanmar rubber is produced mainly in Mon State, Taninthayi Region, Kayin State, Yangon Region and Bago Region. Currently, Myanmar has more than 1.6 million acres of rubber plantations and more than 700,000 acres is producing rubber latex.


May Thet Hnin


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