Vietnam struggles to stay in top 3 rubber exporters

03:56' PM - Thursday, 12/07/2018

If Vietnam doesn’t shift to develop rubber in a sustainable way, it will fall from the position of the third largest rubber exporter in the world.

It ranks below Thailand and Indonesia, and is followed closely by Malaysia.

With hundreds of rubber companies and many technical innovations, Vietnam leads the globe in terms of rubber latex yield with 1.6-1.7 tons per hectare.

The high yield is a great advantage that helps Vietnam compose itself and overcome the price reduction crisis which has lasted six years.
After jumping to the third position in terms of natural rubber output in 2013, Vietnam has been cementing its position with output of 1.1 million tons from 1 million hectares of growing area.

Vietnam’s natural rubber is exported to over 80 percent markets, amounting to 12 percent of the global total exports.

Nevertheless, Vietnam in recent years has been facing criticism for the rubber projects in Laos and Cambodia.

The Vietnam Rubber Association (VRA) has released documents on how investors can minimize risks with the projects. However, this is just a temporary measure.

At the global rubber industry summit on May 7, the three biggest buyers, namely Bridgestone, Goodyear and Michelin, all stated they will strive for sustainable products in the near future.

According to Vo Hoang An, VRA secretary general, the 11 largest tyre manufacturers which consume 85 percent of the global natural rubber have agreed to follow the development strategy in sustainable way.

Meanwhile, Tran Thi Thuy Hoa, head of the Rubber Development Advisory Board said some buyers have begun asking for FSC (forest stewardship council) certificates. Vietnamese enterprises without the certificates have lost some clients.

Developing rubber in a sustainable way was first mentioned in Vietnam’s policies years ago.

In 2012, the government released the strategy on Vietnam’s sustainable development by 2020 (Decision 432) and a series of decisions and circulars.

These included Decision 889 on restructuring the agricultural sector towards added value and sustainable development, and Circular 38 on a sustainable forest management plan, including plantation forests.

In April 2017, the PM released Decision 419 on reducing greenhouse gas emissions by reducing forest loss and degradation. Rubber is one of four crops in the sustainable development model.

However, a question has been raised about how to convert the millions of hectares of rubber growing areas into a sustainable development model, work which requires a lot of money.

The conversion could face big difficulties in the context of small-scale farming which exists even in important material growing areas such as BInh Phuoc, Binh Duong and Tay Ninh. - VNN -

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