The West Sumatra Provincial Government no longer uses rubber as one of the leading commodities. Even starting in 2021, the West Sumatra Horticultural and Plantation Food Crops Office have not allocated rubber plants assistance. Head of the Office of Horticultural Food Crops and Plantation of West Sumatra, Syafrizal, said there were many reasons to no longer concern to plant natural rubber commodity.
This, according to Syafrizal, was done because, among other things, the community had started to leave rubber plants, apart from the fact that the price was challenging to reach a good position. Only recently has the price been quite good, namely Rp. 6,000 to Rp. 8,000 / kg in the form of a Bokar.
Another problem continued the man who is familiarly called Jejeng, and there were also reports from rubber entrepreneurs that synthetic rubber, aka artificial rubber, was found, which allegedly came from rubber farmers in West Sumatra. With these conditions, the West Sumatra Provincial Government sees rubber as no longer an excellent commodity to be developed.
According to Jejeng, the West Sumatra Regional Government usually allocates rubber seedlings assistance every year, but starting from 2021, there will be no more.
Although the Horticultural and Plantation Food Crops Service no longer prioritizes rubber commodities, it does not mean that the Provincial Government asks all rubber plants to be cut down or converted to other commodities. However, the existing plantations are allowed to run and can still produce. This means that only gardens resulting from new land clearing are not a priority for the Office of Horticultural Food Crops and Plantation of West Sumatra.
For this reason, the Provincial Government no longer allocates some assistance for rubber plantations, including the matter of seeds, nor is there any distribution of aid for rubber seeds from the Department of Horticultural Food Crops and Plantation of West Sumatra.
Jejeng said that people who want to start planting a rubber would be advised to plant Coconut as a better option. Because the government sees the coconut plantations in West Sumatra are quite good, the proof is that Coconut is one of the export commodities in West Sumatra.
West Sumatra Rubber Exports
On the one hand, Jejeng admitted that the rubber commodity in West Sumatra had become an export commodity for China, Malaysia, India, Latvia, the United States, Finland, and Japan. Jejeng explained that in 2020 the amount of rubber exported in West Sumatra was 58,442 tons with an export value of IDR 1.4 billion.
In West Sumatra, the rubber people’s plantation area is 181,002 hectares with a production of 163,801 tons and a productivity of 1,258 kg/ha. Indeed, the number of farmers who depend on rubber plantations for their livelihoods is quite large, namely 186,091 families. Areas in West Sumatra are recorded as having rubber plantation land areas in the districts of Sijunjung, Dharmasraya, Pesisir Selatan, Solok Selatan, Pasaman, and Lima Puluh Koto.
According to Jejeng, the condition is not very good because the productivity is low due to not applying GAP and the plants are old, and the quality of Bokar / latex is low. The farmers added that they did not use the recommended harvesting tools and materials and mixed them with other ingredients. So the price at the farm level is low due to low quality and the influence of world rubber prices. Jejeng said that his party had also carried out plant rejuvenation with the help of superior seeds (grafting), provided GAP rubber guidance, assistance with subsidized fertilizers, but still saw poor conditions.
Government intervention programs have also been encouraged, such as rubber for asphalt mixture to increase prices. However, it has not been able to lift the condition of rubber in West Sumatra. Therefore, the West Sumatra Provincial Government plans to direct farmers to look at other potentials, such as Coconut.
This is because the Office of Horticultural Food Crops and Plantation of West Sumatra has prepared 1 million coconut seedlings targeted to be reached in 5 years. Starting in 2021, 200,000 coconut seedlings will be distributed per year for the next five years. The program to plant 1 million coconut seeds is also a work program for the Governor of West Sumatra Mahyeldi, said Jejeng.
For this reason, for farmers who wish to start rubber farming, the provincial government will try to encourage them to plant Coconut because it is more promising than rubber. ***