The Philippine Rubber Research Institute (PRRI) conducted a two-day Seminar on Advances in Rubber Latex Harvesting sponsored by the Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Agricultural Research in partnership with CIRAD-France and IRRDB held at DA Conference Hall, 4th Floor, New Building, Ellliptical Road, Diliman Quezon City on October 20-21, 2016 with two main resource persons: Dr. Eric Gohet of CIRAD-France and Mr. Tajuddin Ismail of IRRDB.
The program formally started with the warm welcome remarks of PRRI’s very own Director – Dir. Rodolfo Galang who greeted and welcomed almost everyone in the seminar. In behalf of Dr. Nicomedes Eleazar – Director of Department of Agriculture –Bureau of Agricultural Reasearch, Ms. Salvacion Ritual delivered his message. Meanwhile she emphasized,
“good investment in funds in scientific efforts in the advancement of the rubber industry in our country which have translated into economic benefits for our farmers and rubber growers. I am confident to say that through this seminar workshop, we will again be extracting an intense prime amongst us to further pursue innovations through research and development.”
The keynote message was delivered by Dir. Roldan Gorgonio – Director of Administrative Services of Department of Agriculture in behalf of Honorable Emmanuel Pinol, Secretary of Department of Agriculture. He uttered,
“The PRRI deserves a greater attention and funds to support its development and technologies. In the face of current low price of rubber, we need to improve the competitiveness of PRRI through the application of agricultural sciences such as plant breeding, physiology pest and disease control/management via technology and so on and so forth in production as well as in the processing and application of natural rubber in various industries.”
After which, all the dignitaries together with PRRI Staff members and Director Rodolfo Galang took a pose for documentation purposes.
The morning session resumed with the first speaker Ms. Leilani A. Castillo discussing her research entitled Assessment of Tapping Intensity Based on Age and Diameter Class of Rubber Trees in Mt. Makiling Forest Reserve, Philippines. She said that rubber production is now considered one of the most profitable agro-industrial ventures. This was the factor that pushed them to do the research. Rubber tapping is usually neglected by famers and tappers in the Philippines especially in Laguna. The improper tapping will endanger the sustainability of latex production and the life of the rubber. She also stressed on the assessment of latex production which includes diameter classes and frequency of tapping intensity for optimum utilization.
The second resource person was Professor Rogelio Testado who talked about Latex Harvesting in Philippine setting. He discussed mainly on the latex harvesting techniques here in the Philippines.
Third lecturer, and one of the main speakers, was Dr. Eric Gohet who tackled about Principle of Latex Production and Physiology. He talked about the physiology of rubber trees. He said that there are ways to maintain the produce of rubber latex without hurting the trees by too much tapping. Sucrose that is gained through photosynthesis can become agent of more latex yield. This is of true if tapping is done in the right way.
Fourth speaker and also, one of the main speakers, was Mr. Tajuddin Ismail who spoke on Latex Harvesting: Appropriate Harvesting Technologies to Sustain Yield and Profitability. Mr. Ismail focused more on how to properly conduct tapping, use of rain guards, correct use of latex stimulants, and formally trained workers to manage the rubber farm.
The panellists in the open forum are: Dr. Eric Gohet, Mr. Tajuddin Ismail, Eng. Francisco Calamohoy Jr. Mr. Gab Igot, Prof. Rogelio Testado, Dr. Cena, Mr. Daniel Revanatad, and Engr. Roger Bagaforo with Mr. Bennet Santander as the moderator. Some of the panel discussions include: DOST proposed for rubber’s training for different parts in the Philippines, government should provide good quality planting materials, and different organizations, SUC’s and agencies should unite together so that we can better improve the rubber industry as a whole.
The giving away of certificates was done by Dir. Rodolfo Galang and Mr. Jerry Gil Murao Vice-Chairman of Rubber Industry Committee.
The next day’s activity was a field tour at Rubber Plantation in Mt. Makiling Forest Reserve and International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in UP Los Banos Laguna. First off was the rubber plantation. It took a 15-minute walk from the starting point to reach the area where the 60-year old rubber trees grew. The rubber plantation begun in 1960, which was started first in Basilan and then transferred to UPLB. UPLB has 5,445 hectares encompassing the entire Makiling Forest Reserve and some of the area is allotted for research purposes. This is a Community Reserve which means that it is a protected area and a possession of government that has wildlife sanctuaries and national parks. As a matter of fact, it was listed in the ASEAN Heritage as number 33 and they are hoping it will become an International World Heritage site soon. There are about 25 hectares of tappable areas. Rubber trees are not treated with stimulant but they are naturally grown. The second phase of the field tour was the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) that is also found in Los Banos, Laguna. The IRRI aims to reduce poverty and hunger, improve the health of rice farmers and consumers, and to ensure the environmental sustainability of rice farming. They do that by partnering with research, partnerships, and strengthen the national agricultural research and extension system and other countries.
PRRI staff with Dir. Rodolfo Galang, and the resource persons: Dr. Eric Gohet and Mr. Tajuddin Ismail