Chairman of State Administration Council Prime Minister Senior General Min Aung Hlaing addresses opening ceremony of Myanmar Rubber Forum 2023

Nay Pyi Taw November 9

Opening ceremony of Myanmar Rubber Forum 2023 was held at MICC–II here this morning addressed by Chairman of State Administration Council Prime Minister Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.

Also present were the Joint Secretary of SAC, SAC members, union ministers, the Nay Pyi Taw Council chair, senior military officers from the Office of the Commander-in-Chief, the Nay Pyi Taw Command commander, deputy ministers, permanent secretaries, heads of department, heads of region/state branches, members of export strategic committee of the National Export Strategy (rubber sector strategy), local development partners, experts, members of Myanmar Rubber Planters and Producers Association, Myanmar Sustainable Natural Rubber Association, rubber purchasing centres, procession plants, rubber-based goods manufacturers, rubber planters and producers from regions and states, representatives of Agriculture Department and invited guests.

In his speech, the Senior General said the forum was held with three aims – improvement of rubber quality, development of industries producing value added rubber-based goods that have the competitive edge, and establishment of organizations, policies, laws and procedures necessary for development of rubber sector and the theme “Promotion of rubber production and value-added goods for sustainable development of rubber sector.”

Myanmar puts 49.39 million acres under 61 kinds of crops including rice, beans and pulses, cooking oil crops. Rubber, an industrial crop, is grown on 1.64 million acres in nine regions and states. Over 300,000 tons of sap is derived annually from nearly one million acres of latex producing rubber trees. Of the annually production of over 300,000 tons, over 20,000 tons are for domestic use and the remaining portion of nearly 300,000 tons is exported. Export target for 2023-2024 is roundabout 400,000 tons.

Annual average earnings from rubber export during the period from financial years 2018-2019 to 2022-2023 was between US$- 250 million and US$- 450 million.

Hence, rubber is an important industrial crop that earns foreign exchange. Rubber is one of the priority sectors of the National Export Strategy’s goals to increase exports. Systematic progress is required in all the stages from planting rubber trees to producing ribbed smoked sheets.

Myanmar’s rubber plantation business has a long history, but its improvement in per acre yield and quality is still low when compared with that of Thailand,

Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam.

Like other countries, Myanmar should also set up strategies and short-term and long-term plans for development of rubber-based industries. As rubber cultivation has direct relations with MSMEs, it needs encouragement. Rubber cultivation is the foundation of rubber sector development. It takes about seven years for a rubber sapling to produce sap. Proper preparation is the base for rubber sector development. So, all must keep in the mind the saying, which goes, “Well begun is half done.”

Myanmar’s current rubber yield is just 700 pounds per acre.

As low production is cost by old trees, the industry needs a substitution process. Only 26.83 percent of the rubber sown acreage is under a region-wise recommended strain that produces about 1,350 pounds per acre. Hence, future plantations should be set up with quality rubber trees and bud-grafting technique must be prioritized.

Depending on the cost effective, farmers should emphasize use of quality rubber strains and expansion of sown acreage of rubber plants. As Myanmar possesses vast areas and fine weather suitable for growing rubber plants, it is necessary to encourage expansion of rubber sown acreage. On the other hand, the perennial crop research and technological development division needs to conduct continuous researches to produce quality rubber strains with resilience of plant diseases and aligned with the favorable weather of the nation.

The Senior General stressed the need to apply a correct procedure and proper chemicals of rubber latex solid for having quality latex and increasing per acre yield of latex. Moreover, relevant departments, businesspersons and all associations have to join hands in organizing the rubber growers in order to quality rubber latex. Only when Myanmar rubber meets set quality and standard can it seek the market share. As such, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, Myanmar Rubber Growers and Producers Association and all rubber farmers are to collectively participate in the quality rubber production.

With regard to enhancement of rubber cultivation and production, it is necessary to categorize the processes as local sufficiency, increased export of surplus rubber and development of rubber based industries for import substitute process. Although Myanmar has solid foundations for production of rubber based products at home, manufacturing sector does not have any encouragement and contributions with lack of capacity in market.

So, rubber based products are imported abroad. For example, Myanmar imports tires for bicycle and motorbikes as well as tubes worth some US$-65 million abroad yearly. So, encouraging the rubber based industries at home can grasp the domestic rubber market share, create job opportunities and reduce foreign currencies. So, an emphasis must be placed on manufacturing of bicycle and motorbike tires and tube sat home.

Reportedly, this forum will focus on discussions on implementation of the decisions from previous rubber forum held in 2018 and progress of works.

Moreover, departmental officials, scholars, experts, businesspersons and association officials have to give necessary suggestions and requirements for development of Myanmar rubber sector. Among the results from the discussions, it is necessary effectively manage division of lab ours for State’s sector to adopt policies and guidelines, provisions from ministries and responsibilities of the private sector with participation of rubber farmers.

The Senior General thanked the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation and the Myanmar Rubber Growers and Producers Association for successful holding the Myanmar Rubber Forum-2023, urging relegant ministries, associations, businesspersons, rubber entrepreneurs and rubber farmers to join hands in implementing the future tasks for development of the Myanmar rubber forum not to halt their process at the rubber forum.

Union Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation U Min Naung explained purpose of holding the forum.

Next, a video clip on production of rubber in Myanmar was screened.

The Senior General and party posed for documentary photos together with officials from the associations and rubber farmers.

The Senior General and attendees to the forum visited the rubber cultivation booths of Agriculture Department, machinery used in rubber farms, car tyres, bicycle and motorbike tires produced at home, tubes and rubber products at relevant booths.

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