On relatively poor soil, the maintenance of rubber plantation during the vegetative development (immature) stage is very expensive, and it has much low potential for inter-cropping with annual crops. Stylo could be used as cover crop and fodder to minimize considerably the maintenance costs, improve the soil fertility and potentially integrate with livestock production.
Red Oxisol in Srayong is well known as among the most fertile soil in Presh Vihear. The farmers plant rubber intercropped with banana, and mix cropped with soybean. The system is highly intensified, diversified and resilient to sustain the livelihood in the context of climate and market changes.
High price of rubber up to 5700$/t recorded in 2001 had driven the conversion from cassava to rubber even on poor sandy soils of Kampong Siem, Poneah Krek and Dambe. For poor smallholder farmers, cassava, the only profitable crop on those soils, is inter-cropped with rubber up to 3 years. Most of the rubber plantations are currently at the productive stage, but the price dropped below 1500$/t generating low profitability. Some farmers recently shift from cassava or cancel rubber to plant pepper expecting stable income.