by Malu Cadelina Manar
Kidapawan City – Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol has assured farmers in North Cotabato that there’s hope for the rubber industry despite the continued decline in the buying prices of the rubber’s raw materials in the locality.
Piñol is in North Cotabato for his “Biyaheng Bukid” where he visited on Thursday the towns of M’lang and Midsayap. During his meetings with the farmers in these areas, he introduced a new program for them called the ‘Easy Access Credit’ which would benefit poor peasants, including the rubber planters.
Piñol, in an interview over Radyo Bida, said the continued drop in the buying price of rubber cup lumps in the area could be due to several factors, including the upward or downward trend of rubber prices in the international market.
The province is the leading rubber producer in South and Central Mindanao and second in the island of Mindanao, according to data from the Department of Agriculture-12.
The farmers have been complaining of the ‘sorry’ buying price of rubber products.
In North Cotabato, a kilo of rubber cup lump ranges from P18 to P24.
Piñol also disclosed the possibility that there could be a monopoly or cartel of the rubber industry in North Cotabato.
“Kasi, ang mga commodity, like rubber, sibuyas, bawang, na iilan lang ang involved, have the tendency to be controlled by a monopoly. There will always be a tendency na i-monopolize ito ng iisang grupo,” said the secretary.
But there’s hope for the rubber farmers, Piñol said.
He announced on Thursday that a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the Philippine government and a company from Finland would be inked this September.
The MOA says the Finnish company, Black Donuts Engineering, Inc., will set up a $200 million tire factory in North Cotabato.
Piñol said the Finnish delegation had visited rubber plantations in the province last January.
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