A Laguna province-based rubber plantation is getting a boost from the Department of Science and Technology (DoST) as it sets to begin production with improved facilities in Southern Luzon.
In a virtual launch, the DoST Regional Office 4 A unveiled a rubber-latex drying facility that is expected to provide members of the Southern Tagalog Rubber Producers Cooperative (STRPC) a cost-effective drying method for processed latex harvested from the 136 hectares of the rubber plantation in Laguna’s Cavinti town.
Developed by the DoST’s Forest Products Research and Development Institute (FPRDI), the facility is an environment-friendly facility that uses organic materials, such as chopped wood, wood pellets or grass clippings, for fuel and has a capacity of 200 kilograms per loading.
“The industry of rubber latex is a promising economic enterprise for our farmers in the countryside that could be greatly improved by science, technology and innovation,” said DoST Region 4A (Calabarzon) Director Alexander Madrigal.
Of the 136 hectares of land, he said, an initial 10 ha. were planted with tappable, or ready-for-harvest, rubber trees, adding that the number of hectarage to be planted with these trees would increase in succeeding years.
The DoST also provided the rubber sheeter and baler machines to be used in processing tapped rubber milk. As added support to upgrade their knowledge in rubber production, FPRDI intensively trained the cooperative’s members on the proper tapping method and efficient rubber processing.
Prior to the DoST intervention, the STRPC used the crude sun-drying method that often resulted in inconsistencies in quality, generating a low price for their produce.
The assistance was provided under the DoST’s Grants-in-Aid program, which provides grants for the implementation of programs or projects under the department’s current list of priorities and thrust that support knowledge and technological diffusion.
Science Undersecretary Brenda Nazareth-Manzano said “this is the reason [the] DoST is working doubly or triple hard, so that it will be able to provide livelihood and development in the countryside.”
The virtual launch of the facility is one of the various activities slated in the celebration of the 2020 National Science and Technology Week from Nov. 23 to 29, 2020. It will feature a series of webinars, career talks, film showing, technology launching and a virtual exhibit of all DoST technologies.