Crumb rubber factories in West Kalimantan reported a shortage of raw materials for processing rubber (Bokar), reaching 50% of the total factory capacity that must be produced, so they have to bring it in from outside the region.
Chairman of the Rubber Association of Indonesia (GAPKINDO) for West Kalimantan region, Jusdar, as quoted by Antara, Thursday, July 8, 2021, said the main problem faced by rubber factories today is the shortage of availability of bokar due to the low productivity of smallholder rubber plantations so that the utility of factories in West Kalimantan is only around 50 percent. % just. To overcome the supply shortage, factories were forced to buy Bokar from other provinces such as South Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, and Sumatra, and even factories imported from abroad.
According to Jusdar, the shortage of Bokar impacts the number of factories operating because some of them have to be closed or stop running.
According to Jusdar, of the 16 rubber factories in West Kalimantan, five factories are no longer operating due to supply shortage, and only 11 factories are running.
He said that for West Kalimantan’s export commodities to get better and continue to provide significant foreign exchange and improve the welfare of rubber farmers, it is necessary to rejuvenate old rubber trees in smallholders’ plantations. This is so that farmers’ productivity is high and thus farmers are more prosperous, and the supply of Bokar at the factory is also fulfilled.
Added by Jusdar that the government’s role needed to rejuvenate old and unproductive rubber trees in smallholders’ plantation and repair inadequate transportation facilities in some remote areas. To increase the productivity of smallholders’ plantation, the role of the government is needed to assist the rejuvenation of rubber plantations by providing superior seeds and rubber plantation extension workers and providing credit with terms that do not burden rubber farmers.
The price of Bokar at the factory level with 100% dry rubber content is currently IDR 21,500/kg. The price has decreased by IDR 500/kg. Even though there is a decrease, according to him, the current price compared to a few years ago is currently experiencing an upward and stable trend and can break through at IDR 20.000/kg.
According to Jusdar, rubber prices are getting better in line with the current improving world economy. Rubber prices are also predicted to increase due to increased demand.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, rubber factories in West Kalimantan continued to operate while strictly implementing health protocols (prokes) for preventing and terminating the outbreak.
He said that during Activity Restrictions Period by Government, rubber factories were still allowed to operate under strict procedures, so they would not interfere with production.
Previously, the West Kalimantan Plantation and Livestock Service noted that in terms of rubber productivity in West Kalimantan, it is still a problem and below the national level, which is still around 700 kilograms of dry rubber content per hectare per year.
While at the national level, 900 to 1,000 /ha/year. Compared to other Asian countries, this productivity is low. For example, Thailand has reached 1,800/ha/year. The total area of rubber in West Kalimantan is currently more than 600,000 ha. Then the number of people involved in rubber commodities is around 313 families or about 1.25 million people. ***