CAMBODIA: Cambodia's rubber industry sees largest growth in Far East

Cambodia's natural rubber production, which has remained stagnant through most of the latter half of this decade, is expected to grow more than 43 percent this year compared to 2009, local media reported.

Natural rubber production in Cambodia is projected to reach 49,500 tons, marking a 43.5 percent increase over 2009, the Cambodia Daily said.  

Between 2005 and 2008, Cambodia produced about 20,000 tons of natural rubber annually, according to statistics from regional sources.

At 43.5 percent, Cambodia notched the highest year-on-year percentage increase in the Far East region.

Sources attributed Cambodia's increase in production to expansion of mature rubber orchards by 10,000 hectares this year.

Mak Kimhong, director of Cambodia's Rubber Association, was quoted as saying that the rising value of rubber, driven largely by the demand for tires in developing countries, encouraged growth in the industry.

"Cambodia's rubber production is increasing year to year because we have planted a lot of rubber and because now the rubber price is higher,” he said. "It now costs 3,600 U.S. dollars per ton, and we never got such a price last year when the price of rubber was nearly 1,000 U.S. dollars.”

Chan Sarun, minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, called Cambodia's natural rubber industry a "growing market.”  About 150,000 hectares of rubber is now being farmed in Cambodia, he was quoted as saying.

"In the future, maybe 2015, we will have maybe 250,000 hectares, " he said, adding that "I think in the future, we will have power in the rubber industry.”(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)