Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung attended a ceremony to honour the Vietnam Rubber Group (VRG) with the Gold Star Order for its contributions to the industry in Ho Chi Minh City on April 8.

He urged the group to further invest in the rubber processing industry and science and technology, and develop infrastructure projects.

Dung said the VRG has developed 300,000ha of rubber plantations in Vietnam and more than 200,000 ha overseas, compared to just 40,000ha after the war.

The group’s production has continued to increase despite the global economic downturn with an average annual rise of 6 percent in area and 10 percent in productivity in 2001- 2010.

Export turnover has increased by more than 30 percent per year and hit nearly 3 billion USD last year.

The PM asked the industry to strive to expand the country’s rubber area to 1 million ha by 2015 of which the group would account for nearly half.

He also urged the VRG to improve the quality of Vietnamese rubber, promote exports and expand its markets.

VRG general director Tran Ngoc Thuan said they will focus on restructuring to improve effectiveness and develop their rubber plantation scale to 500,000ha to provide jobs for 175,000 workers.-VNA