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Workshop: Conversion of Forestlands to Rubber Plantations

La Thành Hotel, Ha Noi,

Vietnam is currently among the top five countries in the world for rubber production. By 2012 the total area of rubber plantations reached 915,000 ha, a figure that will continue increasing in the future. Eighty percent of the country’s rubber latex is now exported. In 2012, 1.02 million tons of latex was exported, earning 2.85 billion USD. This was an increase of 25% in amount and 11.7% in value compared to the previous year.

The national strategy of rubber plantation development up to 2015 and vision up to 2020 approved by the Prime Minister in 2009 indicated that by 2020 the total area of rubber plantations would reach 800,000 ha and turnover of latex export value would reach 2 billion USD.[1] Along with this strategy, several policies were launched by the government to promote rubber plantation development, including allowing conversion of 150,000 ha of natural poor forest to rubber plantation. This rapidly increased the total area of rubber plantations in recent years. To date (Sep. 2013) all objectives/indicators of total rubber plantation area, total export volume and annual turnover of rubber latex export indicated in the 2009 national strategy are lower than the real statistical figures.

Vietnam is actively involved in international initiatives such as FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade) and REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). The major objectives of these initiatives are to support Vietnam to improve its forest governance, especially in dealing with deforestation and forest degradation. However, the government of Vietnam indicated that conversion of forestlands to rubber plantations is one of five prime underlying causes of deforestation in the country. In order to implement FLEGT and REDD+ effectively there must be sound coordination among state agencies regarding forestry and land management – this must also include other stakeholders in the rubber sector and local communities. The workshop, “Conversion of forestlands to rubber plantations: Opportunities and challenges,” will be a platform for participants to discuss this issue.

[1] National strategy of rubber plantation development to 2015 and vision to 2020, approved by the Prime Minister under Decision 750/QĐ-TTg, dated June 3rd, 2009.