In the recently concluded Natural Rubber (NR) Technology Forum held in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay province, statistical records show Zamboanga Peninsula as rubber production capital in the country. However, “quality rubber” is an issue, said Agriculture Research Chief Engr. Roger O. Bagaforo.

Bagaforo said that the urgent need of a technology forum is very much in demand in Zamboanga Sibugay province where 80% of the region’s rubber production come from. He said “different technologies for quality rubber production are presented in this forum. We urge rubber farmers and producers to practice what they learn here and stop using materials like battery solution that deter the quality of rubber.”

Seasoned resource speakers from DOST-PCAARRD, FPRDI, PSTD, DTI, and USM, SKSU, JRMSU and WMSU, DLSU and DA-ZAMPIARC presented emerging technologies in rubber, rubber development techniques and the innovation of harvesting and processing technologies and policy support.

“We are very grateful for our resource speakers to join us and share all rubber related information. While we have exceeded the number of expected participants in this forum from 150-200, since our facility here in Ipil cannot handle a bigger crowd; we thank our active participants who come as far as region IV MIMAROPA, CARAGA, Region 12, Manila and of course Region IX rubber producers.” Bagaforo added.

He said that with DOST and DTI, and SUCs, the department of agriculture also monitors Rubber Bagsakan Centers that have very high cases of rubber (coagulated/ dried/ cuplumps) that have been tested with sulfuric acid (battery solution) rather than the recommended formic acid.

Luisito Cerna, Municipal Agriculturist of Tampilisan, Zamboanga del Norte also expressed concerns during the forum. He said that it is high time that there would be a national policy or law to sanction rubber producers who mishandle the rubber produce. “With the present administration, we hope that policy makers can also look into putting up a ban on use of sulfuric acid in rubber, and impose penalties to violators, similar to the smoking ban.” Cerna said.

Philippines Statistic Authority data show that in the last decade, Zamboanga Peninsula produces more than 70% of the country’s total production every year. In 2016, ZamPen posted 164,413.87 metric tons contribution to the national production. SOCCSKSARGEN produced 102,376.47mt and ARMM recorded 59, 364.09mt; making Mindanao contribute 99% to the total production of rubber in the country. #(CC,DA9)

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