ERJ staff report (TP)
North Cotabato, The Philippines − The provincial government of North Cotabato is encouraging rubber farmers in the area to plant PB260, a fast-growing rubber variety, reported Shahana Joy E. Duerme for the Philippine Information Agency.
In a visit to the 18-hectare Advance Rubber Technology Farm in Barangay New Cebu, North Cotabato Governor Emmylou Mendoza said the variety will help solve the problems hounding rubber farmers such as low quality of rubber cup lumps, deteriorating market price and issues in marketability of rubber.
“I am certain that this innovation in rubber farming will become part of the solutions to the problems facing our rubber farmers and rubber tappers at present,” the governor said.
Alfonso Jack Sandique, who owns the farm, explained the PB260 rubber variety distinctively shortens the six-year wait for rubber trees to be productive as the new variety can be tapped for its sap in only three years after planting, which he described as a breakthrough in the industry of rubber.
Professor Dr. Romulo Cena, from the University of Southern Mindanao, shared his experience in planting the rubber variety in at least one hectare of land inside the campus. He said that almost exactly three years after he planted hundreds of PB260, almost all were ready for tapping.
However, he cautioned the farmers to be aware of some diseases like ‘pink disease’ [stem disease affecting mainly young rubber trees].
Both Cena and Sandique revealed that treatments to the disease once it affects the trees are chemicals including calcium hydroxide and sulphur, as well as red dye and water.
With this, Mendoza emphasised that the provincial government is very interested in helping rubber growers by providing necessary assistance such as seedlings. She also said that other than rubber, high value crops seedlings are available under the support to agriculture program.
Mendoza is hopeful that with the efforts of the provincial government and its partners, the rubber industry in the province will be developed.
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Full story from the Philippine Information Agency