Patin-Ay, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur – Rubber growers in this fast-rising agricultural-rich province of Agusan del Sur are looking to increase production and widen their rubber plantations following the construction of a natural crumb rubber processing plant here, the first ever modern rubber processing center to be established in Northeastern Mindanao.
Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP) livelihood specialist Samson Mate said the establishment of the P31.6-million rubber processing center is a big boost to the rubber industry in the region, especially in Agusan del Sur, which 13,321 hectares planted to rubber with 4,972 already productive and producing a total cup lump volume of 15,273 metric tons with an average production of 3.1 metric tons per hectare.
Through MRDP’s Community Fund for Agricultural Development (CFAD), the Farmers Alternative for Self-Reliance Multi-Purpose Cooperative (FASRMCO) was able to access the P31.6-million fund for the establishment of this processing facility.
It will be equipped with a creper and macerator, shredder, trolley dryer, hydraulic baling press and weighing scale, and is expected to produce high-quality semi-processed natural crumb rubber for tire and footwear manufacturers, said Mate.
He added that the facility will also improve the consistency and standard of the plasticity retention index of natural crumb rubber products and to increase value of rubber cup lump, the coagulated rubber latex. This crumb rubber facility will not only reduce hauling cost, but more importantly, enable the farmers to earn more through value-adding activities.
Already, LGUs and even big companies have already engaged in rubber plantations in the municipalities of Loreto, Rosario, Bunawan, Trento, and Bayugan City.
Meanwhile, the rubber plantation program of Philsaga Mining Corporation (PMC) is seen to help more than 27,000 members of Manobo tribe in the municipalities of Rosario and Bunawan, both in Agusan del Sur and neighboring areas. The PMC is planting more than 100,000 budded rubber trees as the highland people conduct inter-cropping of various agricultural products in Bayugan 111, Rosario town.