Rubber Tree Is Suitable In Southern Leyte-Cabalo
By Quirico M. Gorpido,Jr.
Sogod ,Southern Leyte-With the huge diminution of abaca plantations in different municipalities where the dollar-earner have thrived due to the bunchy tap disease and the great damage brought about by the infestation of Brontispa pests in various coconut plantations in this province, there is another important double-profit earner that is found to be suitable for planting here, which is the rubber tree that the Southern Leyte State University-Sogod main campus has planted in 2007 for propagation.
This was the disclosure of VP for Administration and Finance Valerio B. Cabalo during discussions held inside SLSU’s board room dubbed “Kapihan sa SLSU” as pre-anniversary celebration of the learning institution’s 10th year on March 5,2014.
He said that R&D staff have planted 5 wild varieties of rubber tree and found three varieties suitable for cloning-namelly,PB620,SM1 and the other kind which he forgot its specific classification.
The VP for A&F pointed out that the rubber tree can served as replacements for old coco trees that stop bearing fruits, and it can also be planted in vacant lots in different municipalities in 3 meters by 2 meters apart.
He said that in planted the “new specie” SLSU used the budding method which would last for 6 months.”Part of the original seedling’s above portion will be cut and “attached” the other clone of either PB620 ,SM1,or the other unnamed variety above before planting it”,he explained.
However, he clarified that the rubber tree cannot be the permanent replacement of coconut since the latter dubbed as “the tree of life” has various uses both in commercial and industrial.
Antonio A. Remojo,SLSU-Hinunangan Administrator, divulged that 5 SLSU campuses have started planting 1,000 rubber seedlings for each campus in 2007.It has now an allocation of 50,000 “plantable” seedlings for propagation. Nurseries for the plants are located in Hinunangan,San Juan and in Abuyog.
Remojo also intimated that a hectare of land that can be planted with 90 coco trees, can be planted with 500 rubber trees.
Which regards to the plant’s financial aspect after it reaches its maturity when it start to produce latex, he said, a milk-like colored liquid excreted by matured rubber trees, a farmer can earn P5,000.00 daily. While in coconut production the aforesaid amount can be earned after three months.”Indeed, rubber tree can address the financial concern of farmers”, he said.
Cabalo for his part unfolded a rubber tree can start producing latex from 3 to 5 years old.”At the early start of extracting latex”, he said, “it should be done every other day, not daily”.
He divulged a matured rubber tree that can produce latex for 30 years, could be subjected for daily extraction at the age of 7 years old.
He calculated that half of a whole coconut shell place right below the cut could serve as a “receptacle” of latex. Leaving it for several hours until it would be filled up the following day,he said.
As to the common belief that in typhoon-prone Southern Leyte rubber tree cannot survived ,because it can easily be cut by the force of winds, the VP for A&F explained that resiliency in rubber trees can be achieved by pruning its branches to control its height. He did not elaborate.
He further informed that both incumbent Congressman Damian G. Mercado and Governor Roger G.Mercado have strongly urged SLSU hierarchy to disseminate this promising plant to all municipalities of this province and to other provinces in region 8(Leyte and Samar).In fact they have already planned to have 81 hectares to be planted with rubber trees here including Biliran and in Samar, he said.
However, despite the suitability of rubber tree to be adopted as new income generating plant for farmers/planters here,Cabalo knowing the many commercial and industrial value of coconut trees dubbed as “the tree of life”, emphasized that coconut should be sustained by concerned farmers.
As for abaca, a dollar-earner during the previous decades here, that were recently wiped out by the bunchy tap disease, a certain R&D staff identified only as Nicknick by her colleagues, told the audience that re-growth abaca suckers in affected plantations in various areas can be harvested by farmers.
Nevertheless, re-growth abaca suckers that are now disease-free like cultured abaca tissues, are still vulnerable to bunchy top disease, she admitted. She said that researchers are studying if re-growth abaca can be propagated.
She said that researchers have also observed that abaca plantations that from time to time have movements caused by the blowing speed of normal winds, have the potentiality of warding off abaca disease. Unlike the motionless or “stagnant” abaca plantations which are conducive for the growth of abaca disease, she added.
Other topics discussed led by R&D head Oligario Alesna were tilapia and prawn culture, which at present are considered as backyard projects good only for family consumptioin.These two projects, thru continuous research need to be improved and expanded to meet the market demands, he said. (Quirico M. Gorpido,Jr.)