Kawthoung rubber farms earning healthy profit from high yield this year

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Rubber is primarily produced in Mon and Kayin states and Taninthayi, Bago, and Yangon regions in Myanmar.  Photo: Nant Lay Lay

Rubber farms in Khamaukgyi town of Kawthoung District, Taninthayi Region are reaping high yield this year, allowing the farm owners and workers to increase income amid the COVID-19 pandemic, said rubber worker Ko Tun Naung.
“The rubber farm covering 40 acres in Khamaukgyi town produces 1,000 kilos per day, by tapping latex from about 3,000 rubber fees. Despite high yield, the profit is not that high due to transportation difficulties.
Earlier, a kilo of Myanmar’s rubber fetched only 35 baht in Thailand market. It is priced up to 45-50 baht per kilogramme (K15,000-20,000) this year,” said Daw Ohn Mar Shwe Dwe, a rubber farm owner. The growing demand for rubber products by Thailand causes the price to increase K900-950 per pound in Kawthoung market, market data indicated.
The growing demand for rubber gloves during the coronavirus pandemic, shortage of natural rubber are the reasons for price rise, U Khaing Myint, secretary of Myanmar Rubber Planters and Producers Association (MRPPA) said.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused rubber price to drastically plunge to K350-500 per pound in early May, incurring financial hardships to the growers.
At present, the price reached the record high of over K900 per pound during the pandemic on the back of strong demand by Thailand, said exporters.
“Myanmar’s rubber has raw material variability, and it may lead to quality compliance issues, process inconsistency, productivity problem and high input cost. Meanwhile, Thailand’s rubber is priced at a premium due to quality and consistency. Thailand’s rubber fetches US$2,500 per tonne, while the global rate is at $2,200 per tonne, U Khaing Myint stated.
Thailand is buying Myanmar’s natural rubber at a good price through the black market in Payathonzu, Kawthoung and Myeik towns. Myanmar’s natural rubber is valued only K750-800 per pound in legitimate export, the MRPPA stated.
Rubber is primarily produced in Mon and Kayin states and Taninthayi, Bago, and Yangon regions in Myanmar. As per 2018-2019 rubber season’s data, there are over 1.628 million acres of rubber plantations in Myanmar, with Mon State accounting for 497,153 acres, followed by Taninthayi Region 348,344 acres and Kayin State with 270,760 acres. About 300,000 tonnes of rubber is produced annually across the country. Seventy per cent of rubber made in Myanmar goes to China. It is also shipped to Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Viet Nam, the Republic of Korea, India, Japan, and other countries, according to the MRPPA. Myanmar has exported about 200,000 tonnes of rubber worth around US$240 million in the last FY2019-2020. The export volume is possible to reach below 200,000 tonnes amid the COVID-19 impacts, MRPPA guessed. —Nant Lay Lay (Khamaukgyi IPRD)/ Ko Khant (Translated by Ei Myat Mon)

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