The rubber industry in Papua New Guinea has a relatively long history, going back to the rubber boom early in the country. The British New Guinea Development Company was probably the first company to plant the crop in any scale and continues under Belgian ownership to operate the only commercial rubber factory and plantations in the country.
The centre for the rubber production was in Papua, especially the Sogeri Plateau and the Galley Reach areas near Port Moresby, on a small scale it was planted in Oro, Milne Bay and Gulf provinces. Many plantations were privately owned, but several were public companies quoted on the Australian stock exchanges. Post the second Wold War interest in the crop was stimulated by the Korean was boom.
Additional plantations were established also in New Ireland and the first smallholder plantings probably occurred at around this time. Rubber was regarded as a strategic raw material for Australia industry and a premium was paid on PNG rubber imports to Australia until after independence.
in the 60s the crop was recognised as having potential for smallholder development and several small schemes and village developments were started during that decade. Often in quite remote areas, for example the middle Sepik and Fly rive system and in the Kokoda area.
In the late 60s two larger projects were started at Cape Rodney, South East of Port Moresby and Gavien on the Sepik River, finance came from ADB. The ADB also financed an extension to the Cape Rodney area starting in the mid 1980s.
In the plantation sector very little replacement planting was done after the 1960s and most earlier plantings were with materials considered outdated elsewhere. In the 1970s several …..