Vietnam is the third largest country in the world in terms of natural rubber supply. According to the Vietnam Rubber Association, by 2020 total rubber forests covered an area of 932,000 hectares. In 2021, the export turnover of natural rubber from Vietnam was nearly 3.3 billion USD, and that of rubber products was 3.7 billion USD. In addition, the annual volume of rubber wood provides about 10.7% to the domestic wood industry for export. Recently, the demand for latex and rubber wood in the world market is changing, especially the stronger requirement on the legality and sustainability of rubber woods and latex. Therefore, the development of sustainable rubber plantations play an important role in developing sustainable forestry industry and ensuring Vietnam’s rubber timbers and latex can access to global markets.
The area of smallholder’s rubber plantations in Vietnam is estimated at 477,000 ha, accounting for 52% of the total Vietnam’s rubber plantation area. Smallholders managing rubber plantations are facing challenges to sustainable management of rubber plantations and market access etc.
With the support of Hoa Phat Forestry Joint Stock Company, on 24 November 2022, about 2,994 hectares of rubber plantations owned by 121 smallholders in Minh Lap and Minh Thang communes, Chon Thanh district in Binh Phuoc province was granted the VFCS/PEFC FM certificate. This is a first group certification for sustainable forest management of rubber plantations owned by smallholders in Vietnam. Mrs. Nguyen Thi Thuong, General Director of Hoa Phat Forestry Joint Stock Company, said that the company was very pleased to support smallholders to practise sustainable management of rubber plantation following VFCS/PEFC and it is hoped that certified smallholders’ rubber plantations would create the opportunities for their latex to better access to the global markets such as the United States, Europe, and Japan. Mrs. Thuong also confirmed that the company will continue to support the smallholders to expand the VFCS/PEFC FM certification to several tens of thousands of hectares rubber plantations in the near future.