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By Staff Reporter : PNG Today

Rubber Growers urged to consider intercropping with hybrid cocoa

The Minister for Agriculture and Livestock, Assik Tommy Tomscoll, has called on rubber growers to utilize their rubber blocks for maximum gains in improving their livelihoods.
The Minister suggested that the growers should look at other options such as alternative and mixed farming systems if the price of rubber was not attractive.
One good option was to introduce hybrid cocoa as part of intercropping with rubber to generate high returns from the two perennial crops.
Minister Tomscoll said this during a visit last week to the Upulima rubber project in the Central Province, accompanied by members of the PNG Rubber Board. Rubber farmers and their families, Department of Agriculture and Livestock rubber officers and other government staff, were happy to receive the Minister upon arrival at the Upulima station and carried him on a makeshift cottage carrier to the community hall.
Tomscoll thanked the rubber farmers and project staff for the warm welcome saying it was his frist visit to the rubber project and was impressed with the developments taking place there.
He told the farmers that rubber is unlike other agricultural crops like cocoa, coffee and oil palm are seasonal crops that come into production during certain times of the year. Rubber is a non- seasonal crop, which produces latex all year round and is tapped any time a farmer wants to make little income for the family. The only factor affecting the crop is the low price which demotivates farmers to maintain their rubber blocks.
Minister Tomscoll said farmers should be more innovative and encouraged to look at other systems or practices to sustain their livelihoods. His main message was to see how best they could utilize their rubber blocks to earn maximum returns using other enterprises to sustain their livelihoods. Since the price of rubber is low to meet their basic needs and wants, it is appropriate that an alternative system of farming could be used with the current system for sustainable and maximum utilization of the land currently under rubber.
Upulima would be an ideal location for this new intervention because it had the required climatic conditions, soil types and infrastructure needs for roads, ports and market access to the city of Port Moresby. The importance of this intervention was echoed due to low prices of commodities in the global market which he encouraged the farmers to embrace new systems and practices to sustain their livelihoods.
Minister Tomscoll also informed the farmers that a moratorium on the export of cup lump rubber has been imposed starting in June. Only processed rubber will be exported as of January, 2017. He stressed that all exporters, processors, growers and stakeholders must work together to develop the rubber industry.
Prior to the Minister’s visit, the PNG Rubber Board members led by the Chairman, Mr VeleKagena, had also visited Upulima and Moreguina the previous week to meet with the farmers and discuss matters affecting the rubber industry in general and see for themselves the status of the smallholder rubber scheme under the Cape Rodney Agriculture Development Project (CRADP).
The Minister’s delegation was later taken on a tour of the rubber blocks, source bush nursery and the processing factory.

Posted by Staff Reporter : PNG Today on 5:42 AM. Filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Share this Article

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