Dr. Pham Dong Quang, Deputy Director of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD)’s Cultivation Department, made the statement at a seminar on the issue held in Hanoi on November 8.
After the 10th and 11st typhoons hit Vietnam recently, a total of 21,500 hectares of rubber trees in northern central region were affected with up to 13,000 hectares entirely destroyed. Quang Tri, Quang Binh and Ha Tinh Provinces were the hardest hit. Vinh Linh District in Quang Tri Province incurred losses of over VND2 trillion (USD94.63 million).
The situation was mainly a result of a fact that so many of rubber growing areas were developed outside of the MARD’s planning. Under the plan, rubber growing areas in the region should be around 80,000 hectares by 2012; but to date the figure has reached over 132,000 hectares.
“Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development has directed the Institute of Planning to scruntise rubber planning nationwide, especially in northern central region this year. The ministry will then make an official proposal to the government to make any necessary adjustments,” Quang noted.
According to Quang, rubber has been grown in the region for 53 years and has considerably improved incomes in these areas, and it is necessary to maintain around 80,000 hectares of rubber areas under planning mentioned in the government’s Decision 750.
However, due to the effects of climate change, all stakeholders should draw lessons from these events and work out a comprehensive solution to protect the current rubber growing areas and expand production in the future.
“It’s necessary to quickly draw out a technical plan for rubber cultivation for the northern central region, especially solutions to deal with the effects of storms. The solution is not to simply expand rubber growing areas, but to switch some of them to other crops, such as pepper, weed, corn and soybean,” he suggested.
Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Lung, Director of the Institute of Sustainable Forest Management and Forest Certificate, said rubber growers are investors who should act responsibly and keep close track of market changes.
“Over the past two years, Vietnam’s rubber exports have increased considerably, but rubber export revenues are tending to decrease. Those that are in a rush to grow rubber should take a lesson from the rice and coffee growers,” Lung added.