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Rubber exports expected to rise as production improves in Myanmar

Myanmar is expecting to export around 300,000 tonnes of rubber this year on the back of rising production at local plantations, U Khaing Myint, secretary of the Myanmar Rubber Planters and Producers Association (MRPPA) said last week.

This is more than the government’s estimates of 260,000 tonnes this year, he said.

Rubber exports have been rising in recent years. In 2017, Myanmar sold 140,000 tonnes of rubber overseas, which is up by 56 percent over the previous year, according to official data.

Of the 1.6 million acres of rubber plantation land, half are currently actively producing rubber, according to the MRPPA.

The rubber plantations have over the years been planting new rubber trees while cutting down older trees and those which no longer produce latex.

The aim is for Myanmar to eventually become a substantial exporter of rubber at a time when international demand for rubber is rising.

Currently, Thailand is the world’s largest rubber producer with an annual yield of about 4.6million tonnes. Indonesia is the second largest producer, yielding about 2.4 million tonnes per year. Meanwhile, Malaysia produces about 2.2million tonnes a year.

“While Myanmar does not produce enough rubber to make a change in the global market, the number of rubber plantations has been increasing and this will generate more production in the years to come,” U Khaing Myint said.

Rubber and rubber products are among the commodities the government is promoting under its National Export Strategy to raise total exports and narrow the trade deficit.

Currently, only 8 percent of locally produced rubber is used for domestic consumption. The remaining 92pc is exported. Of the rubber exported, 70pc is sold to China, the world’s largest user of rubber, according to the MRPPA.

Efforts are now being made to improve the quality of rubber produced in Mawlamyaing, Mon State, where plans to construct a central marketplace for trading rubber are being made.

Source: Myanmar Times

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