General Directorate of Rubber director-general, Pol Sopha, noted that this was an increase over the 280,000 tonnes exported in 2019 and that the growth rate of rubber exports is expected to increase through 2024. Sopha also said it is anticipated that yearly export increases will be in the range of 30,000 and 40,000 tonnes per year because some rubber trees are approaching being incapable of generating latex. They will need to be cut them down and that land replanted. Sopha added that it takes six years for newly planted rubber trees to mature to the point of providing a harvest.
“[Currently] more than 410,000 hectares of rubber trees [in the nation] are under cultivation [and of this] around 290,000 hectares of rubber trees are capable of being tapped for latex,” he said.
“Most of our rubber exports are in processed rubber, but latex also crosses the border corridor from farmers in those regions,” he noted.
Association for Rubber Development of Cambodia (ARDC) president, Men Sopheak, said that the price of rubber in Cambodia is now promising. He added that local companies can sell it for up to $1,700 per tonne, with the majority of them exporting their rubber to Vietnam.
When asked whether investors were looking at opportunities to produce finished rubber products in Cambodia, Sopheak said that many had showed interest in setting up factories, but rubber production in Cambodia is small compared with in Vietnam and Thailand where there between two to three million hectares of rubber plantation exist. He said Cambodia’s half million hectares of plantations make it difficult to justify the investment in processing factories.
“Recently, some rubber plantations were completely logged out and replanted to other purposes because of falling rubber prices and there is a lack of available labour in the industry. These factors present also challenges to investors,” Sopheak added.