Science at work 10 August 2021
For a sustainable and resilient rubber sector in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia (Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and the Philippines) produces 73% of the world's natural rubber. However, its cultivation is threatened by two major changes: global warming, which could affect its cultivation conditions, and the increasing scarcity of agricultural labour.
In response, AFD is financing the FORSEA regional project (FOrecasting impacts of climate change and workforce availability on natural Rubber commodity chain in South-East Asia) with a 1.5 million euro grant to the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD). It will be implemented in Thailand, in association with Kasetsart University (KU) and the Rubber Authority of Thailand (RAOT), Cambodia, in conjunction with the General Directorate of Rubber and the Rubber Research Institute of Cambodia (IRCC), and in Vietnam, in association with the Rubber Research Institute of Vietnam (RRIV).
Its objective is to contribute to the adaptation of these countries to the challenges of the sector by documenting the consequences (technical, social and economic) of these changes and by specifying the options for adapting more effectively. These data will be shared with stakeholders in the sector at different decision-making levels.
"CIRAD has historically participated in AFD's main actions concerning the rubber sector in Cambodia. With the FOSEA project, CIRAD is pursuing its commitment to working to improve the living conditions of rubber producers in Southeast Asia alongside AFD and national rubber research and development partners, particularly in Cambodia, and thus ensure the sustainability of the sector", said Eric Gohet, CIRAD's FORSEA project coordinator.
In addition to this support, AFD is currently supporting the sustainable rubber sector in Southeast Asia via a sustainable rubber production project implemented by WWF and a project on sustainable large-scale plantation management implemented by CIRAD.
"We are delighted to be able to renew our support to the rubber sector in Cambodia. This project is in line with the support we have been providing in this historic sector for AFD. It is now essential to invest in climate adaptation in this key sector of activity for Cambodia, which provides income for a large part of the rural population. This project also gives us the opportunity to continue our quality collaboration with CIRAD, AFD's long-term partner in Cambodia on projects supporting rubber systems", explained Ophélie Bourhis, Director of AFD Cambodia.
Signing of the FORSEA project, in the presence of Khun Kakada (Deputy Director General, GDR; Chair of the FORSEA project partners cornsortium), Ophélie Bourhis (Director of AFD Cambodia), Lim Khan Tiva, Director of CRRI (Cambodian Rubber Research Institute), H.E. Him Aun, GDR Director General, Eric Gohet, CIRAD researcher and CIRAD's FORSEA project coordinator, Kou Phally (GDR), Muong Sideth, Head of Agriculture, Rural Development, Infrastructure, Environment at AFD Cambodia.