The Rubber Association of Indonesia (GAPKINDO) held a webinar with the theme of the Extreme Climate Phenomenon El Nino and La Nina: Its impact on the production and availability of rubber raw materials crumb rubber industry.

The activity, which was held on March 24, 2021, presented a keynote speaker, namely Dr. Dodo Gunawan (Head of the Center for Climate Change Information, Agency for Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics), Dr. Thomas Wijaya (Senior Agro-climatology Researcher, Rubber Research Institute of Indonesia / Head of Research Institute for Rubber Technology). Meanwhile, Dr. Uhendi Haris (Assistant Executive Director of GAPKINDO) acted as moderator.

The webinar was officially opened by the Chairman of GAPKINDO and continued with introducing the webinar’s topic by the Vice chairman for the Production Division of GAPKINDO. The Executive Director delivered the closing remarks of the webinar of GAPKINDO.

From the discussions brought up by the speakers, there were several conclusions regarding the El Nino and La Nina phenomena and their impact on domestic rubber production.

It is stated that the occurrence of the global warming process causes natural phenomena in the form of climate change which is more extreme. El Nino and La Nina are natural phenomena of extreme climates. El Nino refers to dry climatic conditions and La Nina to wet climates. Furthermore, the climate in Indonesia is mainly influenced apart from the Monsoon and the two natural phenomena, El Nino and La Nina.

The emergence of El Nino and La Nina, among others, was triggered by the presence of a striking temperature anomaly in the waters of the Pacific Ocean, weakening trade winds in the South Pacific which caused wind movement far from normal, an increase in the capacity of the atmosphere due to heating from hot waters below it.

This phenomenon’s prediction is measured by the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI = Southern Oscillation Index), which is an anomaly of the difference in surface air pressure between Tahiti in the French Polynesia Islands and the surface air pressure in Darwin, Australia. A significant positive SOI is related to the La Nina condition, and a significant negative SOI is related to an El Nino condition.

This extreme climate phenomenon significantly affects the rubber commodity business sector, both in plantations and in the processing industry, because it reduces crop productivity. How big the decrease in productivity will be significantly influenced by the degree of strength of the climate anomaly.

The El Nino for rubber plantation impacts several aspects, namely, decreased production, stunted TBM growth, and the risk of garden fires.
Meanwhile, La Nina’s impacts include decreased production due to reduced tapping and latex washing days, disruption of rubber seed production, and the chance of attacking several diseases, including Pestalotiopsis sp.
During an extreme El Nino occurrence in the affected areas, the production decline can be up to 25% compared to normal climatic conditions. The water deficit during El Nino causes the turgor pressure to be very low, and latex production decreases sharply.

Meanwhile, in quite extreme La Nina conditions, the decline in production due to decreased tapping days due to increased rainy days in the affected areas could reach an average of 3%. Losses due to washing latex, delays in tapping due to additional rainy days for 56 rainy days can reach 3.7%, and the average production loss during rainy days can reach 20%.

The decline in aggregate production regionally or globally still needs to be further studied, considering that each region will receive different impacts according to the climate anomaly’s strength level. It can be ascertained that both the El Nino and La Nina climatic phenomena can significantly reduce production.

Therefore, information regarding the possibility of this natural phenomenon occurring in the future needs to be known as a basis for the business strategy that needs to be carried out. Some efforts to deal with the phenomenon of climate anomalies include zoning of plant agro-climates, selecting suitable rubber clones for dry, moderate, or wet climates, climate monitoring, planting planning using the 75% chance of rain technique. Besides, it is also necessary to prepare water conservation, irrigation in nurseries, and rain guards in the tapping process.

Climate Forecast Climate 2021

For 2021 the provisional climate forecast will be dominated by the atmosphere of La Nina, with the following conclusions:

  • La Nina will still last until the period March-April-May 2021 but with decreasing intensity.
  • In June 2021, the global climate phenomenon La Nina is estimated to have ended.
  • In March-April 2021, most of the Indonesian territory still gets rain with medium-high intensity (200-500 mm / month).
  • In May 2021, there is a transition phase from the rainy season to the dry season.
  • In June-September 2021, most of Indonesia will receive low-medium intensity rain (20-150 mm / month).

Projected Impact on Rubber Production in 2021

A projection appears that La Nina 2020/2021 will lead to increased rainfall in rubber-producing centers in the webinar. This causes a decrease in crop productivity due to rain disturbances in tapping activities. The decline in production in Semester I is estimated to reach 4% over the same period in 2020 due to rain disturbances, lost tapping days, washing of latex in bowls, and delayed tapping time.

The condition of the rubber leaves is relatively good in 2020 due to the intense drought due to the impact of the El Nino climate anomaly in 2019, and the condition of the leaves until March 2021 is still relatively good.

However, in the future, with a high enough humidity level, it is necessary to be aware of the opportunity for the emergence of Pestalotiopsis sp. Leaf fall disease in conditions of high rainfall due to La Nina 2020/2021.

Pestalotiopsis fall disease attacks old leaves and can cause a decrease in the production of up to 30% for one year based on the experience of several previous years.

Therefore, given the opportunity for Pestalotiopsis sp. Leaf fall disease occurs in the Second Semester, which is predicted to enter the “wet” dry season phase, there is still a chance for a decline in rubber production.
This condition needs to be anticipated by processors related to the possibility of a tight supply of processing materials. ***

Bulletin Team, 24/03/2021