Panel 1 : smallholder rubber plantations dynamics and policies to support them

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1 Panel 1 : smallholder rubber plantations dynamics and policies to support them SOLUTION TO DEVELOP RUBBER PLANTING AT HOUSEHOLD SCALE IN VIETNAM IN COMING TIME Dr. Nguyen Tri Ngoc General Director Of Crop Production Department Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam Rubber tree was first grown in Vietnam in 1897 in Suoi Dau Nha Trang and Ben Cat Binh Duong. To the year 1920, rubber plantations were developed in some surrounding areas of Sai Gon Gia Dinh, Bien Hoa, and Thu Dau Mot. There are currently around 25 rubber-planting provinces. Main cultivation areas include Northern Central and Southern provinces. Thanks to encouraging progress in terms of varieties and cultivation techniques, rubber tree is considered to be cultivated in the North West of Vietnam. 1. Advantages of expanding rubber planting areas - Many factors such as suitable soil and climate, abundant manpower, lower buying price compared to other countries of the area, have contributed to promote the development of rubber production in Vietnam. Besides, that Vietnam is near main rubber consumption markets (China., Japan, Korea) has help to create more favorable condition to expand rubber cultivation area and intensive farming. - There is available land to further develop rubber planting in South-east Area and Central Highland. - Intensive farming, production specialization, plus combining rubber production, purchasing with processing activities help to expand cultivation area, increase productivity and value. This also contributes to promote rubber farming at household-scale. - There is considerable increase in source of capital for rubber production at household scale over the past few years (State Budget and Official Development Aid - ODA). - Latest variety-related science and technology achievements, cultivation and latex exploitation techniques, and processing technologies have been widely applied, creating favorable conditions to increase rubber productivity, quality and production effectiveness at household scale. 2. Current shortcomings towards development of rubber production at household scale 1

2 Drought occured in some rubber planting areas such as South-east area, Central Highland from as a result of global climage change; Flood has also negatively affected rubber planting areas in the Central, including numerous areas grown by households. - Producing rubber requires great capital, and it takes long time to withdraw capital. Morever, rubber is mainly cultivated in mountainous area with poor condition of infrustructure. Rubber farmers are almost in shortage of capital, leading to difficulty in intensive farming. This obstacle becomes extremely serious when rubber farming is still in unexploited period and when latex price drops. - Soil for rubber farming at household scale is usually not much and scattered. Cultivation soil in in bad condition; - Bad quality varieties, insecure procedure of upkeeping and fertilizer putting down; lack of attention in latex exploitation and plant protection, Above are some reasons for limited productivity of rubber farming at household scale. 3. Current situation of rubber farming at household scale in Vietnam a) Area - Currently Vietnam has some 77,000 farmers cultivating rubber at household scale. To the year 2005, rubber production area at household scale reached ha, making up 38.6% total area of rubber cultivation in the whole country compared to planning target of 124.3%. For the past 10 years, increasing speed of rubber farming areas at household scale is higher than that of rubber planted by the Goverment enterprises: planting area in 2005 is 4.9 times increased compared to the year 1995, area annual increase speed is around 49.6%. - South-East Area is the largest cultivation area in Vietnam with 129,400 hectares (accounting for 69.4% cultivation area at house hold scale nationwide). Central Highland and Central coastal provinces have cultivation areas of 27,900 ha and 29,000 ha respectively. In South-East Area, rubber production at household scale better develops because this is traditional rubber cultivation area with advantageous farming conditions and rubber upkeeping experienced farmers. - In Central Highland and Central Coastal Provinces, it is more difficult to develop rubber farming as in here rubber is mainly planted at remote and mountainous areas, where farmers are lack of capital, soil is lack of fertility and infrustructrure is in bad condition. b) Productivity In 2005, average productivity is 12,400 kg/ha, equivalent to 85.5% of average productivity of the country and 80.3% of average productivity of Government enterprises. 2

3 c) Yield - In 2005, volume of rubber cultivated by households reached 123,78 thousands of tons, equivalent to 25.6% of country rubber volume and 60.6 times higher than that of 1995; - Though currently volume of rubber cultivated by households is not much, rubber farming at household scale plays an important role in strengthening of production structure transfer, increasing income for rubber farmers as well as contributing to hunger erasion and poverty reduction. d) Some policies to support rubber development at household scales: - For past decades, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has launched extension programs for farmers in targeted provinces of Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Quang Binh, Thua Thien - Hue, Quang Ngai, Binh Thuan, Gia Lai, Kon Tum, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc, Dong Nai to develop through demonstration plantation models on new varieties, new cultivation techniques, application of harvesting rubber techniques. - Meanwhile, MARD has implemented the project on Diversification of agricultural crops for 20 thousands of farmer households to open new rubber plantation as well as cultivate 30.8 thousands of hectares and it is real driving force to develop rubber in the past years. 4. Some solutions to develop household scale rubber plantations a) Planning of new planting areas and intensive plantations Table 1: Suitability categories of land for rubber Limit elements Level of suitability (In short) S1 S2 S3 N Type of soil (g) Fs, Fu, Fv Fa - Remained types Slope (sl) < 15 o o o > 25 o Soil layer level (d) > 100 cm cm cm (For Fs) <70 cm (for Fu, Fv, Fa) < 50 cm (for Fs) Structure of soil (c) Semi heavy earth Heavy earth Light earth, sandy mix sandy, clay Underground water level (f) > 200 cm cm cm < 100 cm Stone (k) no little Medium alot Altitude(h) < 600 m m m > 900 m Rainfall (r) > 2,500 mm 2,000-2,500 mm < 2,000 mm - 3

4 (Source: National Institute for Agricultural Planning) Localities need to re screen planning for rubber with consideration of aspects on ecological requirements and categorize the level of suitability of soil for rubber as the followings: - Suitable of the average yearly temperature, no hoarfrost, yearly rainfall of 1,500mm, months having rain from 5 to 6 per year; average wind of 3m/s. - Cultivation soil layer of above 70 cm, no flood, no stone; soil structure from light to heavy earth, ph from , humus concentration from 1-4%, suitable altitude to the sea level. Project and plan for growing rubber in localities need to be well published to local people so as to inform them to develop rubber at household scale but following approved plans, reducing risk associating with investment of new and planted rubber plantations. b) Changing of new varieties - Rapidly develop new varieties which have latex yield of above 2.5 tons, combination purpose of latex and wood with land conditions and cropping rotations. - Research and development of varieties which may resistant to cold weather, windy and storm conditions but have good yielding capacity in order to grow in some cold-influenced climate area such as Northwest and storm-influenced climate area such as North Central Coast. - Update new/improved varieties in every 3 years, good management of recognition new varieties, management and use of mother trees, multiplication of seedling nursery of rubber through the certification process of seedling gardens, mother trees in order to reduce no certified or unclear origin; increasing rate of new varieties utilization in rubber plantation. - Strengthen training of technical staff working in the nurseries in order to ensure enough quality and standard for growing rubber in small farms. c) Rubber tree intensive cultivation - Diversification of cultivation techniques: diversification cultivation techniques: intensive cultivation techniques of rubber for latex and for latex plus wood; - Utilization of high yielding varieties with combination of pre-planting and prehavesting fertilizers; planting of seedling/stutmp which has developed of 2-3 layers of leaves in order to shorten the period time from planting of young seeding to commercial harvesting - Production of specialized fertilizers for rubber tree in specific periods such as when rubber is still young, in commercial latex producing period or specialized fertilizers for leave and root. Strengthen planting of soil enriched crops such as soybean or animal feeding grass in young tree plantations. - Application of new latex harvesting techniques, methods of latex stimulation. It needs to have methods of controlling diseases. d) Policy 4

5 Rubber production requires big investment, while capital withdrawal lasts for a long time. To encourage and create good favorable conditions to develop rubber farming at house household scale, a number of policies to attract support and capital need to be applied: - Continuing implementation of projects, programs to help farmers borrow capital for new crop as well as for intensive cultivation at household scale at the areas planned by the Government. Making favorable conditions to help rubber farmer borrow enough capital and have borrowing time suitable to production cycle and have right to use rubber farming areas to mortgage when borrowing. - Rubber purchasing, processing and exporting companies can advance investment capital for farmers and purchasers under contract (according to Decision 80 by Prime Minister) in approved material zone. - Increase the Government s Agriculture Extension Budget to invest in development programs, rubber intensive cultivation under main point extension projects of MARD, focusing mainly on: agriculture extension staff training, broadcasting extension programs on the radio and newspapers, building demonstration models at area-level area or inter-areas to develop rubber farming at household scale. - Granting right of land using certificates for household farmers. - For the farmers who can not afford to invest: encouraging them to contribute land using rights into rubber state companies, ensuring job and long-term benefits for producers. - At provincial level: use extension available capital and capital scientific support for the cultivation of rubber of provinces, focusing on development activities grassroots extension network, technical training for producers, seed support, credit interest rate, showing model at the provincial level. - For Enterprises: spend a rate of capital for extension activity and techniques transfer for raw materials producers; focus on technical transfer instructions activities to the producers, purchase and consuming products for farmers, support for producers when natural disasters or devalue occurs. 5

6 Appendix: Area status, productivity and yield of rubber in Vietnam Year Cultivating area (ha) Newly planted area (ha) Exploitation area (ha) Productivity kg/ha/year Yield (ton)

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