Unpredictable rain showers can interfere with the rubber tapping during harvest season, thus, the RDD-developed “rain guard”, which looks like a pleated skirt-like polythene can provide an effective shield against rain, making tapping possible- and favourable for the trees too – under such weather condition.
First introduced in 1992 by the Rubber Research Institute, the technology has not been effectively utilised, especially amongst the Sri Lanka estates, in the belief that its use will do more damage than good to the trees and the latex.
According to the institute it is not advisable to tap rubber during rainy season, a condition that is conducive for the fungi to grow on the pods and leaves of the trees, and with the fresh cut tree trunk, the rain water gushing along it will cause the bark to rot.
Due to unexpected rains, tapping has been difficult this year. However, an unprecedented progress in tapping is shown by the Udabage Group, Daraniyagala (Lalan Rubbers Pvt Ltd.) using ‘rain guards’.
The 5,000-acre Udabage Estate has rain guards for each rubber tree therein. A tapper of the Udabage Group says he tapped every day last month despite the rainy weather and earned an extra Rs 30,600.