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Thursday, March 5, 2015

ZamPen Rubber Industry holds 5th cluster meeting in Sibugay

By Alma L. Tingcang

IPIL, Zamboanga Sibugay - The 5th ZamPen Rubber Industry Cluster Team (RICT) meeting was held yesterday, March 4, at Sibugay Grand Plaza Hotel here.

Among the issues tackled were: Rubber Production and Expansion, Rubber Quality Improvement Advocacy, Price Management System, and institutionalization of rubber industry cluster team capability, among others.

In attendance were the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Department of Agriculture-Zamboanga Peninsula Integrated Agricultural Research Center (DA-ZAMPIARC), LGUs, academe, rubber farmers and the media.

Director Rody Galang of the Philippine Rubber Research Institute gave updates on the status of the PRRI as to its accomplishments.

DTI Regional Director Sitti Amina M. Jain presented the performance of the industry from 2011-2014, which has relatively improved in a span of 3-4 years. “Zamboanga Sibugay is the biggest producer of rubber in ZamPen, and Region 9 has the biggest area allocated for the rubber industry,” she said.

On the rubber production and expansion program, Mr. Rudyard Pacas of DENR-PENRO said that Zamboanga Sibugay will cover 3,428 hectares this year with P63,692,000 budget while Zamboanga City’s 1,655 hectares has P30,929,000 allocation.

Dir. Jain pointed out that farmers could also avail of DTI’s Shared Service Facility (SSF) project for the procurement of equipment and machineries. She assured that after 6 years, the equipment will be given to them. However, if within 6 months it is not operational and have not been used, DTI has the authority to get it back and award it to another beneficiary.

DTI Senior Trade Industry Development Specialist (STIDS) Engr. Arnold L. Yap presented the Action Plan of the ZamPen RICT for 2015-2016 which included the operationalization of the Rubber Testing Laboratory facilities in Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga City and Isabela City to improve the rubber industry in the region.

Rubber farmers observed that it is not how big the area planted with rubber is, but the amount of latex production that counts much. And according to research, rubber trees sequester more carbon dioxide compared to other trees, thus mitigating the impact of climate change.

For the skills training that will be conducted this year such as rubber tapping, post-harvest technology to capacitate the rubber farmers, the DA-WESMIARC, Agricultural Training Institute, DTI, TESDA, DOLE and DOST will work hand in hand to extend government support to the rubber farmers.. The competency assessment of practicing tappers for NC II will be administered by TESDA.