Director Cheryl L. Eusala of the Philippine Rubber Research Institute (PRRI) delivered an insightful presentation during the CY 2023 2nd Quarter EDCom IX Meeting on June 9, 2023. The director discussed the comprehensive plans and programs of PRRI for the period 2023-2028, along with updates on the status of Pestalotiopsis Leaf Fall Disease (PLFD). The meeting, held on its third day, was attended by representatives from various government agencies.
In her presentation, Director Eusala emphasized that PRRI operates nationwide with no regional offices yet. While this objective has not yet been fully realized, Director Eusala expressed her appreciation to EDCom IX for allowing PRRI to become one of its members, which provides a platform for collaboration and support.
During the meeting, Director Eusala also highlighted the importance of controlling the spread of Pestalotiopsis Leaf Fall Disease (PLFD), which poses a significant threat to the rubber industry. She motioned to “strongly encourage Local Government Units (LGUs) in Region IX to create an Executive Order” that would ban the movement of rubber planting materials. This proactive measure aims to contain the spread of the disease and protect rubber plantations from further damage.
One of the key recommendations put forward during the meeting was for PRRI to conduct an assessment and pest surveillance in the Ecozone area, specifically profiling Lapacan which is recognized as the largest supplier of rubber in CTK Asia, Ecozone, according to Dr. Raul Regondola.
During the meeting, the need for reliable data was emphasized, and the RDC expressed its support for PRRI’s profiling activities. This support will enable PRRI to gather accurate and comprehensive information, leading to informed decision-making and targeted interventions. Additionally, PRRI aims to forge partnerships with DENR and DOST regarding the processing of rubberwoods into furniture. By working together, these organizations will explore opportunities for the utilization of senile rubber trees, thereby contributing to sustainable practices in the industry.
DENR, on the other hand, announced its decision to discontinue the distribution of planting materials. However, the department will conduct an inventory of rubber data and assess PLFD’s impact on rubber areas. This step will provide valuable insights into the disease’s prevalence and guide future interventions. Moreover, DENR expressed its commitment to supporting rubber farmers by ensuring fair pricing and facilitating market access for their products. This support will help improve the economic conditions of smallholder rubber farmers and contribute to their overall well-being.
To address these challenges and capitalize on opportunities, PRRI will develop an action plan aimed at increasing rubberproduction and enhancing the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. By implementing strategic initiatives, PRRI seeks to promote sustainable practices, foster innovation, and drive the growth of the rubber industry in the Philippines.
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