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DTI’s benchmarking mission provides insights to address productivity, other issues confronting PHL rubber industry

08:57 PM Thursday May 29, 2014

DTI’s benchmarking mission provides insights to address productivity, other issues confronting PHL rubber industry

QUEZON CITY, May 16 (PIA) - The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) recently spearheaded a benchmarking mission on natural rubber to India.

 
The objective was to learn from the country best practices in rubber production that could be applicable to the Philippine rubber industry.
 
DTI-Region 9 Director Sitti Amina Jain, Ph.D., DTI’s National Coordinator on the Rubber Industry Cluster said that India was the logical choice mainly because of its natural rubber productivity per hectare being the highest in the world, surpassing even that of Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
 
“In 2011, India’s productivity was at 1,806 kilograms per hectare, in contrast to the Philippines average of a measly 800 kilograms per hectare per year, registering the lowest among the world’s major natural rubber producing nations”, Dr. Jain disclosed.
 
Now that natural rubber is one of the industries being assiduously promoted for development by the Philippine government, there is a need to work for the industry to realize its full growth potentials.
 
The benchmarking mission which was participated by stakeholders from the Philippine rubber industry and by government officials from  DTI and DOST was undertaken to acquire learnings and exposure on how other countries are doing it in terms of technology improvement, productivity enhancement, and industry development practices.
 
In India, the mission got to observe and learn how they do things all throughout – from the upstream to the downstream sides of the industry. We visited their nurseries and plantations in Kerala, their research and development and product testing labs, as well as the modern rubber products manufacturing plants in Mumbai.
 
For the upstream sector for instance, India made sure that 100% of all their plantations utilizes only high-yielding clones. To do this they put up a central nursery for high yield clones that are then made available to the farmers. They use modern technology to develop better and more resilient planting materials through tissue culture and genetic engineering.
 
They also adopt mechanized farming and plantation terracing methods. Further; to maximize land productivity, they make use of intercropping, which is India’s case, pineapple on the 1st to the 3rd year of the plantation, and cacao on the 4th year up.
 
As to the downstream sector, Dr. Jain observed the presence of a fully functional rubber product research and development center in India which the Philippines may very well emulate.
 
She also noted the presence of rubber products testing and laboratory facilities that help facilitate compliance to the BSI and ISO standards; and strong industry and government alliance to promote the industry.
 
Also evident was how the Indian government provided an environment and business climate that spurred the industry’s growth through legislations and policies supportive of the industry.
 
The mission has made the participants aware of what needs to be done first. Dr. Jain made a quick run down of her recommendations such as: the implementation of Republic Act 100989 for the establishment of the Philippine Rubber Research Institute (PRI); creation of the Philippine Rubber Industry Development Council (PRIDC); allocation of a separate budget to finance the needs of the industry in all stages of the value chain; the setting up of rubber products testing and R&D facilities; advocacy on the use of high yielding clones among farmers; provision of equipment for mechanized land preparation; and advocacy on rubber quality improvement program, among others.
 
She emphasized that the current rubber industry roadmap for both the upstream and downstream sides of the industry is a big start to provide the guidelines to a plan of action. With the new knowledge obtained from the mission plus full government support and the cooperation of the industry stakeholders, there is much hope for the Philippine rubber industry’s realization of its potentials as a major contributor to the country’s economic growth. (RJB/AKG-PIA-NCR/DTI)
 
Date: Friday 16th of May 2014
 
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