With the visionary leadership of Executive Director Cheryl L. Eusala, Ph.D. to fully capacitate and empower rubber farmers during her tenure and with the directive from the DA Secretary, Francisco Tiu Laurel, the Philippine Rubber Research Institute (PRRI), in collaboration with the Cotabato Foundation College of Science and Technology (CFCST) and the University of Southern Mindanao (USM), held a two-day training on Low Frequency (LF) and Upward (S/4) rubber tapping, funded by DOST-PCAARRD for farmers in Antipas and Pres. Roxas municipalities (barangays: Poblacion, Malatab, Camutan, Dolores, Magsaysay, New Pontevedra, Camasi) on May 15-16, 2024. This is done alongside President Marcos’ campaign of Bagong Pilipinas.

The training was designed to tackle the key challenges rubber tappers encounter. These include Tapping Panel Dryness (TPD), high labor costs, a shortage of skilled workers, and inadequate bark management. These issues lead to reduced latex yield and shorten the lifespan of rubber trees.

Led by Ms. Honey Fe Boje – OIC-Chief of Genetic and Improvement Division (GRID), along with the Office of the Municipal Agriculturist, headed by Engr. Helen Verdeblanco, and supported by our partner LGU, the Municipality Agriculture Office of Antipas, the training offered participants fresh insights, learnings and hands-on experience.

Ms. Boje, the Project Leader of this said training did a full lecture on the LF and Upward (S/4) tapping techniques. Also, Mr. Alfonso Jack Sandique, PRRI consultant and National Rubber focal person from Prime Homestead Agri-Venture, Inc. (PHAVI), shared valuable insights from his experience implementing the S/4 method on his farm.

PRRI believes that by equipping farmers with this innovative technique, plus the collaborative efforts and much-needed help with other DA agencies and offices, PRRI hopes to significantly improve latex yield, extend the lifespan of rubber trees, and ultimately increase farm incomes in the region.