As a cash crop which many communities heavily rely on for their livelihoods, rubber has become a major driver of deforestation and biodiversity loss in the region. With an unequal power balance between producers and buyers in this volatile market, farmers face various challenges which often lead to large-scale land grabbing, small-scale forest encroachment and human rights violations in vulnerable communities.
In addition, a lack of traceability in supply chains, illegal and unsustainable rubber widely enters supply chains and reduces incentive for sustainable production practices. With better management, we can meet the growing demand for natural rubber and rubber wood without damaging the local environment.
WWF is working with local partners to develop the Multi-Actor Partnerships project to connect stakeholders in state and private sectors across Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand to improve the living conditions of smallholders, farmers, indigenous peoples and workers by:
- Strengthening the capacity of small farmers and community leaders to meet international sustainability standards, equipping them with skills such as plantation management, negotiation, financial literacy and documentation
- Connecting stakeholders and different parts of the supply chain to foster networking with the multi-sectoral cooperation approach to promote participatory learning, inclusivity and representation
- Facilitating dialogues on sustainable rubber production and land rights issues
- Developing traceability tools to support land use management and planning for farmers and enable knowledge sharing
- Enhancing working conditions of plantation labourers and providing them access to land and stable livelihoods