Farmers allowed to process raw rubber
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said that by February next year, the Philippine Rubber Farmers’ Association (PRFA), a farmers group organized with the support of the Department of Agriculture (DA), will start processing their raw rubber into motorcycle and small tractor tires under the proposed brand name “Pilipinas Agila Tires.”
Piñol said the rubber farmers themselves will market the tires made out of their farm produce to motorcycle owners and hand-held farm tractors manufacturers and farmers.
This will virtually free the rubber farmers from the control of traders who base their buying prices for raw rubber called “cuplumps” on world market prices which are low now.
“This major development was achieved yesterday after a Valenzuela, Bulacan-based tire manufacturing company agreed to a ‘tolling arrangement’ where it would process the farmers’ semi-processed rubber called SPR 20 into motorcycle and hand-held tractor tires,” Piñol said.
Processing farmers’ raw rubber into high value products is the solution identified by the DA to break the control of traders and middlemen on the pricing of rubber cuplumps.
From a high of P100 per kilo about 10 years ago, prices of raw rubber have dropped to only P25 per kilo today prompting many farmers to cut down their rubber trees and shift to other crops.
Rubber tree farming has been a steady source of income for many farmers in Mindanao, including Palawan and now Negros Oriental.
Piñol said that to make this local processing deal possible, Leo Tire Manufacturing President William Lim and North Cotabato Board Member Socrates Piñol, who was designated by PRFA President Armando Pedregoza to represent him in the negotiations, agreed to certain terms.
Under the deal, the PRFA, which will soon be transformed into a farmers’ cooperative, will buy the raw rubber produce of its members and process this into SPR 20, while the SPR 20 produce of the PRFA will be sold to Leo Tire Manufacturing, which will then process it into two fast-moving rubber products – 3.00 x 17 motorcycle tires and hand-held tractor tires.
Leo Tire Manufacturing will then release these products to the PRFA at factory prices and PRFA in turn will sell the tires to motorcyle owners and fabricators of hand-held tractors.
“The Department of Agriculture will provide technical and financial support to the PRFA to implement this project,” Piñol said.