November 25, 2011

Government may follow rice goal with one for rubber


The Cambodian government considered setting rubber production and exportation goals similar to its milled rice objective set for 2015, Prime Minister Hun Sen said during a speech to government and public-sector working groups.

“Agriculture is potentiality very big. Now we just issued a rice policy target, and in the next few years we will probably set up a rubber production promotion and export policy because we have huge increases in plantations,” the premier said on Wednesday at the Council of Ministers.

Mong Retthy, president of agriculture firm Mong Retthy Group, said he supported the policy given rapid growth in the Kingdom’s rubber production, as well as increased global demand for the commodity.

“If the government released the policy, I think the sector would improve very fast,” Mong Retthy said, adding that his group has 2,000 hectares of rubber plantation in Sihanoukville province.

While government officials recently insisted on the impending success of its goal to export 1 million tonnes of rice by 2015, the policy has garnered much speculation from experts and the World Bank.

A report issued in July by the World Bank said a lack of milling capacity, as well as infrastructure bottlenecks, could hold back three-fourths of the quota.

Mak Kim Hong, president of Cambodia Rubber Association and owner of Chhub Rubber Plantation in Kampong Cham province, said a rubber export goal could attract more investment.

Cambodia’s natural rubber exports increased by 67 per cent, hitting 35,075 tonnes during the first 9 months of the year, Ministry of Commerce data showed.

At the beginning of the year, Cambodia had about 181,400 hectares of rubber plantation with plans to plant 300,000 by 2020, according Ly Phalla, director general of the General Department of Rubber Plantations.

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