The International Tripartite Rubber Council (ITRC) has reviewed the efforts of its Member Countries in late June 2019, to ensure a robust natural rubber (NR) supply. Unfortunately, NR production is expected to drop this year following an outbreak of Pestalotiopsis disease on rubber trees in Sumatra, Indonesia – the disease now appears to be affecting rubber trees in Malaysia as well. Smallholders who are driven to reduce maintenance costs and chose to neglect good agricultural practice (GAP), likely contribute to the spread of the disease.
In addition, erratic weather conditions and decreased tapping activities in these regions due to the prolonged low NR prices are thought to continue to affect NR production.
ITRC has started an investigation into the total area affected by the disease, which might hamper potential production. The assessment in the June meeting also emphasisedan urgency to stop a further decline of NR production and income of smallholders.
The ITRC’s Member Countries reiterated that the Agreed Export Tonnage Scheme (AETS) implementation was effective in addressing the transient stock imbalance from the global rubber market – the export cutback in April and May 2019 under the 6th AETS implementation will continue improving the market and positively impact the wellbeing of rubber smallholders through more stable NR prices.
The news was released by the International Rubber Consortium (IRC), which handles ITRC’s secretarial services, after a meeting of the Senior Officials from Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia in Krabi, Thailand.