The local rubber sector moved one step closer Tuesday toward obtaining international certification for Cambodian rubber resin with the laboratory of the government’s Cambodian Rubber Research Institute receiving internationally recognized accreditation, officials said.
The International Rubber Association’s certification of the laboratory will enable the CRRI—a facility under the Agriculture Ministry—to issue internationally recognized certification for locally produced rubber resin, thereby opening the door for global export of the product.
While the CRRI can now certify Cambodian rubber resin for export, the International Rubber Association will not officially recognize the institute’s certification until the association holds its annual meeting March 9, 2009, said Patrick Pierrat, project manager adviser with the Agence Francaise de Developpement’s Program for Reinforcement of Commercial Capacity.
“We can now say rubber producers in Cambodia could export their products to international countries,” Pierrat said, adding that Cambodia exports resin to Vietnam and China but a 20 percent price difference exists between the regional market and the international market. “[Cambodia] loses $8 million per year,” he said.
The CRRI laboratory received accreditation following a three-and-a-half-year process that studied the laboratory’s equipment and the training of its staff both on rubber plantations and in the lab, according to Pierrat.
Once the International Rubber Association formally approves the CRRI’s laboratory after the March meeting, local Cambodian rubber laboratories would also become eligible for accreditation, and rubber producers would become eligible for certification, Pierrat explained.
“Today our laboratory got the ISO [International Organization for Standardization] for certification, which makes more international customers believe in our products,” CRRI Director Yin Song said during a news conference held Tuesday at a seminar on the certification of Cambodian rubber.
“This is moving Cambodia forward another step toward the international recognition of [its] rubber,” said Oung Kosal, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Agriculture.
Ying Song said there are currently nine state-owned rubber plantations – six of which were previously state-operated but were recently privatized, and two that were already privatized.
An open bidding process will begin soon for the one remaining state-operated rubber plantation in Kompong Cham province.
Ly Phalla, director-general of the Agriculture Ministry’s rubber plantation department, said the government plans to extend the country’s current 107,000 hectares of rubber plantations to 150,000 hectares in 2015.