Rubber farmers soon to market own brand
Local farmers will start producing their own rubber under a local brand and market these to manufacturing companies.
Starting February next year, the Philippine Rubber Farmers’ Association (PRFA) will begin processing raw rubber into motorcycle and small tractor tires under the brand name Pilipinas Agila Tires, said Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol .
“The rubber farmers themselves will market the tires made out of their farm produce to motorcycle owners and hand-held farm tractors manufacturers and farmers,” he said.
Piñol said this would free the rubber farmers from the control of traders who base their buying prices for raw rubber on world market prices.
Valenzuela-based Leo Tire Manufacturing Corp. agreed to a “tolling arrangement” where it would process the farmers’ semi-processed rubber called SPR 20 into motorcycle and hand-held tractor tires.
Under the agreement, PRFA will buy the raw rubber produce of its members and process this into SPR 20 which will then be sold to the manufacturing company for the production of fast-moving rubber products.
The DA will provide technical and financial support to PRFA for this project.
Leo Tire Manufacturing produces tire brands like Manhattan, Bulldog and Leo tires.
Government statistics show that there are 3.58 million registered motorcycles in the country, most of them are using tires manufactured abroad.
“Processing farmers’ raw rubber into high value products is the solution identified to break the control of traders and middlemen on the pricing of rubber cup lumps,” Piñol said.
From a high of P100 per kilogram about 10 years ago, prices of raw rubber have dropped to only P25 per kilo today, prompting many farmers to cut down their rubber trees and shift to other crops.
Rubber tree farming has been a steady source of income for many farmers in Mindanao, including Palawan and Negros Oriental.
The PRFA will seek the assistance of the Department of Trade and Industry to get the necessary government licenses to manufacture and market its tire products next year.