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In the province of Zamboanga Sibugay, rubber farmers are now reaping the fruits of the rubberwood initiative led by the DOST-Forest Products Research and Development Institute (DOST-FPRDI).

Members of the Tambanan Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative (TARBEMCO) have started producing and selling furniture pieces made from old and unproductive rubberwood trees. With clients coming initially from their province, the farmers have so far produced cabinets, chairs, tables and other home pieces.

“Zamboanga Sibugay locals are accustomed to using senile rubberwood trees for low-value products such as fuelwood, pallets and crates. Thru 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.

“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.

Center table with drawers

Shelf and cabinet

Table that can be transformed into a bench

In the last three years, DOST-FPRDI has conducted a series of trainings for TARBEMCO members. These include trainings on harvesting and sawmilling, rubberwood preservation and treatment, kiln drying, woodworking machine operation and maintenance, furniture making and basic finishing. The Institute also established a Rubberwood Processing Center in Naga, Zamboanga Sibugay with a complete line of processing facilities 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, 01 March 2021)