FAO jointly with the USDA is launching a project to support small farmers producing natural rubber in Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand, according to the Khmer Times.

“We found that farmers that harvest latex encounter problems in a number of areas, particularly pricing, climate change and yield stagnation, among others,” Pierre-Marie Bosc, senior officer at FAO said.

The goal of the project is to boost the rubber sector by increasing yields, reducing costs, enhancing product quality, ensuring the sector’s sustainability and pushing farmers’ incomes up.

The project will involve collecting data from each country, analysing it, and comparing each data set to assess the efficiency and productivity of the countries’ rubber sectors. The programme is being designed with the cooperation of French research centre CIRAD.

The Cambodian government fully supports the project. According to the authorities, 160,000 hectares of land (less than 1% of the total area of the county)  cultivated by smallholder rubber farmers, and 70 percent of this land has already been harvested.

In September 2018, local farmers sell rubber for 2 thousand riels (13.7 UAH) per kilogram, and to work without losses, they can not sell it for less than 900 riels.

Cambodia is able to produce 220,000 tonnes of natural rubber per year.