DR. WILLIAM MEDRANO, vice president for Research and Extension of Isabela State University, revealed that a roadmap for rubber production in Cagayan Valley has been crafted. The goal is to plant 10,000 hectares to rubber in the next 10 years. The areas have been pinpointed in both east and west sides of the Sierra Madre.
The Cagayan Valley Rubber Planters Association has been formed with Charles Lim heading the initial 20 members. Dr. Medrano said that a P15-million budget has been endorsed to an influential government official for the funding of nurseries that will supply the needed planting materials.
Dr. Medrano has already talked to Dr. Pablito P. Pamplona about the initial planting materials of a recommended variety that is for a dual purpose. This means that the variety is good for the production of latex as well as for timber. When the trees shall have passed their prime in producing latex, the trees could be harvested for lumber. The lumber could be used for making furniture as well as for construction.
The dual-purpose variety could be targeted for the manufacture of furniture for the European market. Dr. Medrano explained that the importers in Europe prefer furniture made of wood not harvested from the forest.
Dr. Medrano has also scheduled Region 2 farmers to go on a tour of rubber plantations in Mindanao from May 21-24, 2014.
Dr. Pamplona, by the way, is a retired professor from the University of Southern Mindanao who now operates a big nursery for rubber, oil palm and fruit trees in Kabacan, North Cotabato and in Compostela Valley.
(Note: We talked with Dr. Medrano on April 11, 2014 during the Philarm Convention at the Amigo Hotel in Iloilo City.)