New rubber tree variety eyed to aid farmers
NORTH COTABATO, Philippines --- The province is planning to introduce to local farmers fast-growing rubber trees that would produce latex in half the time of existing species.
Alfonso Jack Sandique, owner of the Advance Rubber Technology Farm in Makilala town in the province, showed to local officials, led by North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Talino-Mendoza, the 8,000 mature PB260 rubber trees, which were planted in his farm in 2010.
It takes six to seven years for rubber tree varieties to reach maturity. Rubber trees produce white sap, called latex, which hardens into rubber and has tremendous local and international market potentials.
Mendoza, whose office has been implementing more than a dozen projects to aid farmers in the province, said she was delighted by the new rubber tree variety.
Sandique is one of the large-scale rubber farmers in the province that are voluntarily assisting farmers through the office of Mendoza.
Mendoza, along with representatives from the office of the provincial agriculturist, the University of Southern Mindanao, and the agriculture, and trade and industry departments, toured Sandique`s farm the other day to evaluate the viability of introducing the PB260 rubber trees to local peasant communities.
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Mendoza said she was also glad that Sandique is willing to help local farmers.
Sandique told reporters that the propagation of the PB260 rubber trees could be considered breakthrough in the local rubber industry.
"This technology aims to make our rubber trees and rubber products competitive in the market," Sandique said.
Sandique said farmers should take advantage of Mendoza`s programs that provide assistance to local folks intending to venture into rubber tree farming.
Mendoza added that the new rubber tree variety could boost the productivity of local farmers.
“I am certain that this innovation in rubber farming will become part of the solutions to the problems facing our rubber farmers and rubber tappers, such as low prices of latex and rubber lumps, and other marketing constraints” Mendoza said. - John Unson