Venerable Buddhist Monks,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today, I have great honor and pleasure to be here in this rubber plantation for the 6th times, to joint you all, Venerable Buddhist Monks, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, in inaugurating of Paved Road and opening ceremony of Caoutchouc Extraction Site as well as presentation of certificate ISO 9001:2000 and ISO/IEC 17025:1999.
Your presence, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, employees, workers and especially students is the evidence of this historical event that shows our active involvement in development of rubber sector in Cambodia, which is one of the important agricultural product that supports the progress of country economic foundation.
To take this great opportunity, on behalf of Royal Government (RG) and my own self, I would like to express my deep appreciation to the management, civil servants, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery’s staffs and officials, including all employees and workers of the Chup Rubber Plantation (CRP) that have exerted their efforts and cooperated with international partners in order to obtain achievements and initiated the organization of this event. The organization of this event again is the evidence that clearly reflects the emphasis on development of valuable natural caoutchouc resources, especially through this ceremony we can show and promote to the national and international milieu the good quality of natural caoutchouc that is growing on red soil in the Kompong Cham province.
As we all already know, Cambodia is a country where agriculture sector is determined as basic sector for economic development, especially rice and caoutchouc. During the 70s, caoutchouc plantation in Cambodia covered 65.000 hectares and caoutchouc exports were equal to over 50 millions dollars per year. In 1966, caoutchouc production increased to 52.000 ton with the average yield of around 1510 kg per hectare, which is one of the highest yields in the world. This reflects the potential of Cambodia in the sector. However, during the war from 1970 to 1980, caoutchouc plantation of around 1300 hectares have been destroyed and another 22.000 hectares were damaged. In case of rubber trees that we started to extract again in 1980 covered only 5000 hectares, which produced the extracted caoutchouc only around 1300 ton. Furthermore, in the 80s, we had started replanting rubber on existing and available areas. Also, during the 90s, we started to cut old and exhausted rubber trees in order to replace with new rubber trees in view of timely revitalizing rubber plantations.
In the present, the government has transformed 7 rubber plantations from state-owned enterprises into public enterprises with autonomous economic management. According to investment project, the government introduced development policy on family-based rubber cultivation and ensures the freedom of selling rubber products in domestic market. With stated policy, RG expect that our farmers will participate more to support the policy. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery (MAFF) encouraged the family-based rubber plantation development and implemented pilot project financed by Agence Français de Développement (AFD) which aims to develop a sustainable agricultural system based on rubber sector and provided fund for development of rubber plantation. The Research project on family-based rubber plantation, that is the sub-project of Agricultural Productivity Improvement Project (APIP) funded by the World Bank, has been launched in order to identify the potential development area.
At the time, I would like to highly appreciate all level of civil servants, workers, employees of CHUP Rubber Plantation who have been work hard for 25 years especially to successfully and significantly revitalize rubber on the existing land and that worth to be proud. They also expanded additional cultivated area in Tum Ring commune, Sandan district, Kampong Thom province and promote the development of family-base rubber plantation to be better. Furthermore, in 2004, CHUP Rubber Plantation has improved its total quality management (TQM) and has been certified by Australia based TQM system. Today, the celebration of its new achievement is a historical evidence to show the satisfied outcome of its performance through certification of ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 17025:1999 provided by Australian based TQM system.
I would like to recall the recommendations, I raised during closing of recent MAFF conference on Taking stock of 2003-2004 Performance, on promotion development of rubber product of the three agents: state, private and household through mobilizing private investment both inside and foreign countries. The development can be done through grant and loan from international financial institution for development and promotion technical and procedure researches to enhance the quality of Cambodia rubber products to be internationally recognized. Therefore, the products are able to penetrate into the market, absorb more customers and obtain high price and particularly meet the requirement of international rubber community in enhancing the quality of Cambodia rubber product to be able to compete in international market.
In the same context, I would like all of you to focus on the potential of expanding and development of rubber plantation that can be obtained via three important activities such as newly planting, re-planting and improving re-arrangement of young rubber plantation which allow us to have hundred hectare of un-extracted young rubber plant that can be rehabilitation by apply proper agronomical technique for speeding up the growth of tree and increase output.
Indeed, re-planting need to remove over-35-year-old tree on hundred hectares and utilize seeds with provide high yields and high quality wood. The removed rubber plant will provide wood for making furniture. The re-planting area, is currently about 280,00 hectares, have been establish not only for industrial cultivation but also family based cultivation. Therefore, quality and customer satisfactions are our target in the future.
I am convinced that in order to achieve these necessary objectives, each rubber plantation must put all its efforts in preparing modernized management basing on good governance within the “Rectangular Strategy” framework of the Royal Government and using incentives scheme. This is to increase labor yield in hand with human resource development in appropriate technical field which are keys in increasing rubber yield and quality with international recognition. Attention should also be given to livelihood and well-being of employees and workers who constitute great collective force in pushing rubber industry in Cambodia to obtain international standardized quality and capacity in competing with other rubber products of other countries in international market.
In view of creating jobs, value added as well as increasing economic efficiency, the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fishery must adopt strict and immediate measures in cracking down and timely preventing exports of un-processing caoutchouc and rubber trunks accordingly to existing technical principles. In this spirit, the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fishery and concerned institutions must promote and encourage investors to establish domestic factories that fully process caoutchouc and rubber trunks for export purposes. This is to prevent the lost of quality of our rubber products.
As H. E. Chan Sarun has stated, family based rubber development program with multiple vegetation within rubber plantation is surely consistent with the “Rectangular Strategy” of the Royal Government painted by agricultural diversification and increased agricultural productivity in view of reducing poverty of the people in rural area through increased income, job creation, labor migration to cities, protection of environment and speeding up family economic activities as well as national economy as a whole.
Taking this occasion, I convey my hope on other rubber plantations and encourage them to continue to compete for ISO certificate in order to enhance the prestige of Cambodian rubber with international recognition.
Once again, I highly appreciate new achievements that Chup rubber plantation has obtained and I deeply thank the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fishery, other seven rubber plantations as well as line ministries, local authorities, armed forces that have actively contributed to reform tasks and agriculture development, especially the development of rubber industry. I also thank development partners who have contributed to the development of rubber sector in Cambodia, particularly I urge the French Government and the World Bank to examine the possibility to continue their aid in family based rubber development program to cover to nationwide scale.
May I take this occasion to also present my appreciation and loyal thank to great efforts of Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen the management, staff, employees, workers, compatriots as well as all local authorities who have jointly constructed this paved road to allow great deal of exchange of goods and facilitate transport of rubber, agricultural and industrial products and other resources in the region to market place and cities. This surely cuts both transportation cost and time. In this regard, it’s is undeniable that the livelihood of people in this region will be improved with more favorable and improved communication and linkage with other regions in the country.
In the end, I wish you all, Venerable Buddhist Monks, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, distinguished guests, staff, employees, workers, dear compatriots, students, the five gems of Buddhist blessing.
In order to congratulate Chup rubber plantation that has obtained ISO certificate and ISO/IEC as well as to uphold the cause of development of rubber sector in Cambodia that contributes to enhanced economic growth, job creation, equitable and efficient distribution of wealth, I am honored to declare the official inauguration of this paved road and caoutchouc extraction in Chup rubber plantation.