Towards a sustainable and resilient rubber sector in Southeast Asia - FORSEA

The goal of the FORSEA project is to anticipate the effects of climate change and agricultural labour shortages in the rubber sector, in Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam.
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Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam) produces 73% of the world’s natural rubber. However, rubber growing there is under threat from two major changes: climate change, which could affect rubber growing conditions and potential output, and agricultural labour shortages.


The FORSEA regional project (Forecasting impacts of climate change and workforce availability on natural rubber commodity chain in South-East Asia) contributes to adaptation to the challenges facing the rubber sector in Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. To do so, it documents the technical, social and economic consequences of the changes underway. It specifies the options available to adapt more effectively to these changes, and shares this data with sector actors at different levels of decision-making.

The project develops an approach combining research, expertise, knowledge transfer and training on the adaptation of agricultural practices. The analysis is based on the climate change scenarios established by the IPCC and on experiments conducted by partners from the South and from France at CIRAD’s headquarters in Montpellier. It describes the current labour situation in rubber plantations. It also proposes a prospective study of the sector and tests scenario-based innovations as well as technological, social and institutional innovations in relation to the risks posed by these changes.

Expected results

The project analyses the likely consequences of climate change in the short and medium term on the survival, growth and production capacity of natural rubber in the three countries. It identifies the risks linked to the availability and use of labour, in particular workers employed in tapping (economic development, motivation and remuneration, labour migration, COVID pandemic, etc.). Technical and organisational innovations are proposed, whether alone or in combination, to mitigate the risks linked to climate change and to changes in labour availability. These innovations are developed and tested in the context of experiments, in both experimental and commercial plantations run by partners. The project also contributes to diploma courses for students in partner countries.

Finally, the project also aims to provide information to support public and private decision-making on investment in rubber production and the development of rubber growing areas, with the goal of providing partner countries with the means to design their own policies based on validated scientific knowledge.


Cambodia: Direction générale de l’hévéaculture (DGH) and Institut de recherche sur le caoutchouc au Cambodge (IRCC)
Thailand: Kasetsart University (KU) and Rubber Authority of Thailand (RAOT)
Vietnam: Rubber Research Institute of Vietnam (RRIV)