ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/25 September) – The provincial government of Basilan is embarking on a program to increase local rubber production.
Gov. Jum Akbar said they have established a rubber tree nursery to initially produce at least 300,000 seedlings to be planted in different areas across the province.
Akbar said the seedlings will be distributed for free to rubber farmers as well as those farmers who intend to grow rubber in addition to their usual crops.
The program is aimed to make the province once again a major producer of good quality rubber in the region, the governor said.
Basilan’s rubber industry ranks next to coconut in terms of land area and volume of production.
Aside from coconut and rubber, the other major crops of the provinces are coffee, cassava, banana, corn and its secondary crops include rice, black pepper, root crops, cacao and other seasonal fruits.
As per indicative data, there are 9,742 individual farmers in Basilan province who have concentrated on rubber plantation.
Around 15,503 hectares are planted to rubber, of which 7,148 hectares or 47.49 percent are planted by individual farmers while 7,905 hectares are owned by agrarian reform beneficiaries.
Akbar said the free distribution of the seedlings would also replace the old rubber trees which are no longer productive. (MindaNews)