More Uses for Rubberwood Found
By Rose de la Cruz
Instead of just being used as fuel wood, pallets and crates, old unproductive rubberwood can be processed to produce high quality and premium-priced furniture market.
The Department of Science and Technology-Forest Product Research and Development Institute in Zamboanga-Sibugay is assisting rubber farmers harvesting rubberwood to use them for benches, cabinets, chairs, tables and other home pieces.
With the introduction of science and technology, the members of the Tambanan Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative (TARBEMCO) started utilizing old and unproductive rubberwood trees to produce and sell furniture pieces of high quality. With clients coming initially from their province, the farmers have so far produced these new products and hopefully will find markets in surrounding provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao, and ultimately Metro Manila.
“Zamboanga Sibugay locals are accustomed to using senile rubberwood trees for low-value products such as fuel wood, pallets and crates. Through the DOST-FPRDI project, they learned to make high-value products which could sell for a competitive price,” explained Engr. Victor G. Revilleza, Project Leader.
Because of the DOST-FPRDI intervention, the farmers were able to acquire added knowledge on useful application of rubberwood trees that can command higher prices in the market.
“Rubberwood has good qualities suitable for making furniture, packaging materials and other wooden products. It has white to pale cream color, which when dried becomes light brown. Its reasonably good strength properties make it a durable material for furniture,” he added.
In the last three years, DOST-FPRDI has conducted a series of trainings for TARBEMCO members to upgrade their skills. These include trainings on harvesting and sawmilling, rubberwood preservation and treatment, kiln drying, woodworking machine operation and maintenance, furniture making and basic finishing.
To fully support this growing industry, the Institute established a Rubberwood Processing Center in Naga, Zamboanga Sibugay with a complete line of processing facilities and equipment from sawmilling to finishing.
Interested furniture buyers may contact Mr. Jonard Ansoc, TARBEMCO Manager, at 0965 0586690. (Juliemar V. Purificacion & Apple Jean C. Martin-de Leon)