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Vietnam to ramp up rubber exports by 2015
Vietnam plans to expand its rubber plantations by almost 40 percent by 2015 and boost export earnings in a project worth about 1.7 billion dollars, AFP quoted the government as saying Friday.
Rubber is now a relatively small-scale export product for Vietnam but under the plan about 70,000 hectares (173,000 acres) of new rubber trees will be planted by next year, bringing the total area under cultivation to 650,000 hectares, a statement from the government said.
It is hoping for export turnover of 1.6 billion dollars by next year, with processing capacity expanded to 220,000 tons (198,000 tonnes). By 2015, the plan calls for a total of 800,000 hectares under cultivation -- about 38 percent more than the pre-expansion level -- and export turnover of 1.8 billion dollars.
"The government encourages enterprises and individuals to join investment for the plantation, processing and consumption of rubber products," it said. The plan will focus on five parts of the country, stretching from the southeast to northwest, and requires total investment of 30,000 billion dong (1.7 billion dollars), it said.
Preliminary government data for the first five months of this year shows Vietnam exported 175,000 tons of rubber worth 245 million dollars. Rice, one of the country's leading exports, was worth more than 1.4 billion dollars during the same period.
Researchers writing in the journal Science on Thursday warned that the expansion of rubber plantations in southeast Asia could have a devastating environmental impact.
The researchers predicted the area of land dedicated to rubber and other farming systems in the region could more than double or triple by 2050. This could result in consequences including a drying out of the region's water systems, and an increased risk of landslides through erosion, the researchers from China, Singapore and the US said.
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