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Stung Treng Farmers Choosing Rubber

Farmers in the eastern province of Stung Treng have begun replacing fruits and nuts, once thought profitable, with old-fashioned rubber. The trees grow well, and government aid is available for their cultivation.

Koh Muon, a 57-year-old farmer in Sre Krasaing commune, said he began planting rubber trees on four hectares of land last year after he was told by Kampong Cham province farmers the trees could earn him more money and the resin could be tapped nearly every day.

He spent about $500 for a hectare of rubber saplings bought from nurseries in Kampong Cham.

Ly Phalla, director-general of the Ministry of Agriculture’s rubber department, said rubber trees were planted only in Kampong Cham, Kratie and Rattanakiri provinces in until recently, but they are appearing now Stung Treng, Mondulkiri, Kampong Thom and Preah Vihear.

Farmers who want to plant rubber tress can use local seed, though private companies with larger plantations use seed from Vietnam and Malaysia.

Cambodian rubber resin is sometimes bought by private companies for export to Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and countries in Europe, he said.

Thirteen companies are currently running rubber plantations, seven of them foreign, for a total export of 50,000 tons of latex in 2008. Through August this year, Cambodia exported 30,000 tons of latex, he said.