By RAI MAROAH – The price of rubber plantation has increased in Mon State amidst a purchasing increase by families of Mon migrant workers living in Thailand.
According to rubber plant cultivators in Mudon Township, the price of 300 rubber plants is 13 million kyat (equivalent to around $16,250 U.S.).
“The reason for rubber plant price increases is that there is a lot of money coming from Thailand. Those people bought rubber plantation because they believed that rubber plantations are a business they will be able to run for the long term,” said Mi Aye, a rubber plantation owner in Mudon Township.
The price of rubber plantation has increased ever single year as there is increasing demand from buyers.
“They do not care about the price. As soon as they hear that someone is selling rubber plantation land, they come to buy it,” said Mi Aye.
Mi Aye explains that one rubber plant, which has been cultivated for three years will sell for 60,000 kyat (around $75 U.S.). A plant that has grown for seven or eight years (which has then become a tree) will go for 100,000 kyat (around $125 U.S.).
Rubber plantation prices also vary depending on its nearness to the main highway. Those closer to the highway are more expensive than those further away.
The livelihoods of most Mon people are based on agriculture, growing rice paddy or cultivating rubber plantations. Despite the increase in incomes due to money they receive from family members in Thailand, most Mon do not dare deposit the money in banks believing the bank system in Burma to be unreliable.
One man, who purchased a rubber plantation for 16 million kyat, said, “We do not care about the price even it is high. We know that we can benefit a lot from rubber.”
As the frenzy for purchasing rubber plantations grew, some Mon people from Mudon, Thanpyuzayat, and Ye Townships moved to Thaton and Kyaikmayaw Townships in Mon State to grow the rubber plantation. These two townships have much more available space to grow rubber trees.
The Burmese government planned to cultivate 450,000 acres of rubber plantation in Mon State in 2010. However, the government was only able to cultivate about 200,000 acres according to Myanma Permant Crop Service in Moulmein.
In Mon State, Thanphyuzayat Township has the most rubber plantation with 46,000 acres, while Mudon Township is second with 30,000 acres.
Mon State is largest producer of rubber in Burma. Rubber is called “White Gold” in Burma and is the main agricultural export in Mon State. Most rubber is exported to China, Singapore and Malaysia.