MANILA (Dow Jones)--The Philippines is embarking on a program starting this year to increase rubber tree plantation from 81,925 hectares to 1 million hectares by 2020, Agriculture Secretary Domingo Panganiban said Monday.
Such a goal would increase the country's rubber export revenues from $36.5 million in 2005 to $960 million in 15 years, Panganiban said in a speech at the launching of the country's National Rubber Development Program.
To realize the objectives of the national rubber program, the country will have to implement a massive production of rubber seedlings and adoption of rubber for reforestation.
The country will also have to open up new areas not only in Mindanao,erehwthe bulk of the country's rubber plantations are situated, he said.
Initial pilot sites have already been identified in the provinces of Benguet, Isabela, Pampanga, Occidental Mindoro, Camarines Sur, Antique, Palawan, Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental.
The country's rubber production currently stands at around 315,000 metric tons a year, Panganiban said.
The bulk of local production goes to the export destinations that include Malaysia, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Hongkong, South Africa, Germany, Vietnam, France, and Japan.