PHILIPPINES: Yokohama tire production increase to boost domestic rubber farms

"The First Philippine Rubber Investment and Market Encounter or Prime 2012, which is scheduled on 18 and 19 September, is part of the strategic efforts that we identified in the value chain upgrading strategy for natural rubber to expand its domestic market base through providing market access to the country's rubber industry players, particularly small holders and farmer cooperatives,” Trade Undersecretary for Regional Operations and Development Merly Cruz said
in a statement.

According to Cruz, there is a growing interest in the production of rubber sparked by its increasing market price, which has hit P100 per kilogram in the last two years.

By 2016, the industry targets 200,000 hectares planted areas or an average increase of 10,000 hectares per year, Cruz said citing that the Philippine rubber industry roadmap. She added that can open 5,000 job opportunities per year at one job per two hectares ratio.

The Philippines currently exports 85 percent of its total rubber production but Cruz said, YTPI, a
major Japanese tire manufacturer, imports 94 percent of its natural rubber requirements from Thailand and Indonesia.

At present, YTPI produces 21,000 tires per day but it is expanding operations to increase production to 50,000 five years from now. The expansion, DTI said, will make YTPI the biggest tire manufacturer among the company's plants worldwide.

DTI said that YTPI's requirement plus that of the Philippine Rubber Industries Association Inc. presents huge domestic market opportunity for the local natural rubber producers.

"On this ground, Prime 2012, a business event to provide direct exposure to investment and market opportunities, was planned to bring together the different stakeholders in the rubber industry and development partners in the country,” Cruz said.

She said that the stakeholders can have access to investment and marketing opportunities in the rubber industry through Prime 2012. Updates on the latest developments in the industry as well as prospects and marketing opportunities will also be presented in the event. Prime 2012 will also address the challenges faced by the industry with focus on key areas in production efficiency
and sustainability like compliance to industry-wide standards.

Source: Daily "The Manila Times", Manila; 5 Sept 2012

(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)