GENERAL LUNA, Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte - Considering the demand not only locally but in abroad as well, farmers and stakeholders are now increasing the area planted to rubber trees in the Caraga Region.
The targeted areas that are considered to have additional rubber plantations in the coming years are the provinces of Agusan del Sur, and Agusan del Norte, and the cities of Butuan, Bayugan, and Bislig.
Rubber farmers, especially rubber associations in Bayugan City and in Trento, Agusan del Sur, are already gearing up to plant more rubber trees to an area of approximately 1,000 hectares.
In Barangay Tungao of Butuan City alone, a new rubber plantation worth some P2.7 million is already being monitored by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
Local officials said the rubber industry is a recently rejuvenated sector in the region with prices of cup lumps at levels advantageous to farmers and other support enterprises such as rubber tapping.
Because of the sprawling rubber plantations in various areas of the region, a three-day proper rubber tapping training for farmers and tappers in Butuan City was conducted recently.
The training focused on the techniques, skills, and proper methods of rubber tapping.
It was learned that the initiative is critical in ensuring the quality and yield of rubber latex, and even the lifespan of rubber trees.
The participants were also taught regarding characteristics and propagation techniques for rubber trees, rubber farm establishment, and rubber tree budding and its advantages from seed tree.
The training was organized by the DTI in cooperation with the local government of Butuan City, and the officials of Barangay Tungao.
Tapped as a resource person was Crisanto D. Java, a recognized expert on rubber tapping and rubber tree propagation from Cotabato. He is also with the University of Southern Mindanao (USM), one of the premier agricultural academic institutions in the country.