Semi-processed rubber products from Basilan land in foreign markets

Dec. 15, 2008

Davao City — Semi-processed rubber products from Basilan finds its way to Singapore and other foreign markets as local producers partner with Manila-based exporters which make the business prospects high.

Edwin Pantaleta, general manager of Basilan Countryside Development Multi-Purpose Cooperative (BCDMPC) said the cooperative does the trading for the 5,000 hectares of rubber farms in Basilan.

He said that prior to their coming into the business, the farmers had problems with the buyers, who would only pay the farmers 6 pesos per kilo. When the cooperatives partnered with Pioneer Enterprise, they can get as high as 130 pesos per kilo.

With the current global crisis Pantaleta admitted that buying went down to 80 pesos per kilo. However, this is still higher than what they got before.

Pantaleta said there is a high demand for rubber but there is not enough supply from the Philippines. He said that their Singapore buyers also tap farmers in Malaysia and China.

In China, he said the whole rubber produce of the Philippines cannot meet even the demand of one processing plant there.

He said the pricing is based on the kind of produce derived from rubber that has three classifications.

The first class rubber classified as SPR (Standard Philippine Rubber) 5L can only be sourced out in Basilan.

This high-grade rubber he said is used for the production of balls for basketball or tennis that are mostly accessed by British sports equipment brand Slazenger.

The other classifications are SPR 5 which comes next and the most common is the SPR 20 that are being used for the production of tires.

He said Sime Darby and Good Year buy the farmers produce although they maintain some 4,000 hectares where they sourced out the raw materials for their tire production.

Meanwhile, he said small farm lot owners are also venturing into rubber farming and that in Basilan new farms with about 3,000 hectares that were planted three to four years ago will be productive by 2009 to 2010.

A hectare of land would need about 120 thousand pesos capital investments for the first five years he said but when the tree becomes productive, it can generate net income of about 30,000 pesos per hectare a hectare per month. With coconuts, ten hectares would only generate 40,000 pesos in three months.

Basilan’s main agri product is coconut followed by rubber then coffee and cacao, he said. (PIA)

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