March 14th 16th 2011 the Foochows of Sibu will be celebrating the 110th Anniversary of their arrival in Sibu and the founding of their settlements in Sg. Seduan and Sg. Ensurai.
This event makes me think of one very important crop that "accidentally" made so many of the Foochows rich beyond their dreams at the turn of the 20th century.
However like many cash crops there had been ups and downs. Upheavals and downturns. But towards the end of the twentieth century the crop became once again more important than ever. Prices reached new heights and a new wave of people are now enjoying the cash!! However the obstacles are there yet again for the new tappers to over come. It would not be new and difficult swamps or snake bites or sudden illnesses.
It would be the play of the elements of supply and demand and other unseen elements which harm their production.
According to all national newspapers Rubber is getting to price.
But according to many people in Sarawak they are getting a variety of prices from 5 ringgit to 10 ringgit a kg.
Here's a quick survey - Miri - at various collectors' centres = 6 ringgit per kg.
Lubok Antu - Rm 10 ....
Sri Aman - RM 10
Sibu - from 8 to 10 ringgit
Kuching - 12 ringgit....
It is good to hear that people are going back to their rubber gardens to tap their own rubber instead of working for daily pay in the towns and cities. In fact one minister even cried out stating that Government projects are delayed because rubber prices are good!!
From a reliable source I heard that many temporary teachers are now part time rubber tappers in the afternoon after school. This is really a good sign that we are benefitting from our natural environment and creating a niche out of our own social background. Back to basics is the common cry today.
Small lorry sending off well packed rubber sheets to the boats for export.
Why the vast differences in prices?
In Kalimantan Barat where many rubber tappers do not have lorries the collectors come to collect and pay COD roughly 12 ringgit per kg.
West Malaysians are better off and they get top prices! Well done!! Perhaps our merchants and politicians should take a look at the variety in prices of rubber in Sarawak.