Cambodia joins rubber association

PHNOM PENH, September 14, 2009 (AFP) – Cambodia has joined the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries in the hope of further developing the nation’s rubber industry, a government official said Monday. Ly Phalla, director-general of Cambodia’s directorate of rubber, said the ascension to the inter-governmental organisation will bring its burgeoning industry new technology and help with production and marketing.

The Cambodian government had privatised some 41,600 hectares (102,800 acres) of state-owned rubber plantations in recent years, Ly Phalla said.

The country now has some 120,000 hectares of land under rubber cultivation and the government plans to expand this to 150,000 hectares by 2015, he added.

Cambodia is the 10th country to join the rubber association, which includes China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.

But while Cambodia hopes to boost its industry, researchers writing in the journal Science in May warned that the expansion of rubber plantations in southeast Asia could have a devastating environmental impact.

The researchers predicted land dedicated to rubber and other farming systems in the region cou

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