Rubber tree plantation owners and businesses are protecting rubber trees rather than cutting them down to cultivate other crops, despite falling latex prices, the Central Highlands Steering Committee reported.

Apart from calling for increased protection of rubber trees, local authorities proposed plantations apply intercropping to increase incomes and enrich the soil.

The Central Highlands province of Dak Lak has the third largest area of rubber tree coverage with 39,600ha, following Gia Lai and Kon Tum with over 120,000ha and 75,500ha, respectively.

The locality has made plans to plant rubber tree on an additional 27,000ha, increasing the total area of rubber tree coverage in the province to 66,800ha by 2020.

The province is also trialling new rubber tree varieties and is applying advanced technologies in planting and nurturing rubber trees, as well as in processing latex, in a bid to improve quality and productivity, and expand consumer markets.

The Central Highlands comprise the five provinces of Lam Dong, Gia Lai, Dak Lak, Dak Nong and Kon Tum, with a total rubber tree coverage of 278,564ha.-VNA