Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Rubber plantations expanding in Mon State

Wednesday, 12 January 2011 13:09 Ko Wild

Chiang Mai (Mizzima)––Rubber plantations in Mon State could increase by 500 percent in 22 years, according to a New Light of Myanmar editorial published on Tuesday.

The state-run newspaper said Mon State now accounts for 37 percent of the total rubber plantations in Burma. Before 1988, there were 76,607 acres of rubber farms in the state. In 2009-10, the state had 423,692 acres in rubber farms, according to the editorial.

Moreover, rubber plantations are growing in Shan State and Tenasserim (Tanintharyi) Division.

According to an article in the Commerce Journal last month, published by the Ministry of Trading, Burma exported 1,845 tons of rubber to China in November of last year, and 562 tons in early December, earning US$ 1.9 million. The rubber price on the Sino-Burmese border in late December was $4,000 per ton. The RSS3, lower quality, rubber price in Burma was 390,000 kyat (about US$ 390) per ton. The RSS5, higher quality, rubber price was about 370,000 kyat (about US$ 370) per ton.

Burma also exports rubber to Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam through sea routes. During the visit of Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to Burma in April of last year, the Vietnamese Investors’ Association (Burma) chairman Tran Bac Ha met with the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry chairman Win Myint and agreed to co-operate in rubber growing.

There are both state-owned rubber farms and private rubber farms in Mon State.

Currently, Max Myanmar Company Limited operates 3,000 acres of rubber farms in Mon State. Rubber is extensively grown in Mudon, Thanbyuzayat and Ye townships, said a rubber farm owner in Thanbyuzayat Township.

Despite the large number of rubber farms in Mon State, many local residents prefer to work on rubber farms in Thailand, say local residents, because they can earn higher incomes.

Workers on rubber farms in Mon State receive about 50,000 kyat (about US$ 50) per month, while workers in Thailand can earn about 7,500 baht (US$ 245) per month.

‘In Thailand, we extract the latex, and we can get 50 percent of the total profits’, said Myint Lwin, a worker on a rubber farm in Phang Nga Province in southern Thailand.

Myint Lwin said that he and his wife could earn 50,000 baht (about US$ 1,633) per month in Thailand.

According to a rubber farm owner in Thanbyuzayat Township, while many Mon people are migrating to Thailand, people from other regions of Burma are moving to Mon State to work on the farms.

In Mon State, farm owners usually allow the workers to live on the farms.

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