February 26, 2011

Rubber Prices in the 21st Century

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.

A collecting centre in Marudi in the Baram Valley.

Small lorry sending off well packed rubber sheets to the boats for export.

Rubber sheets which are properly smoked...many today do not sell smoked rubber sheets anymore. Most are just sun dried sheets whereas in Indonesia the rubber tappers sell raw hardened rubber tubes (collected in bamboo canisters).

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.


Anonymous said...

Hi Sarawakiana

My friend told me that it is difficult to get workers for his coffee shop becos lots of them went back to kampongs to tap rubber!! One family at Lundu started tapping as early as 2am and even managed to get RM7000 per month for the family. Also, a friend of mime says he can get RM50 per day!!!

Daniel Yiek said...

Saw some ribbed rubber sheets in Sarikei dhowntown in Feb

jay said...

This was my profession during my younger days. During school holiday, that time term holiday usually last for 2 week while year end holiday , 2 month. Though the price was very low but that was the only choice for me to earn money. When school reopen we (our sibling) sell our rubber sheet and that is only money we will use for the whole school term. Anyway it enjoyable life during that time. Now most of the rubber tree sudah mati.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Anonymous
Yes many people are now addicted to rubber tapping. Indonesians are also going into the rubber gardens to tap (legally or illegally)!! New ways of managing coffee shops from now on I suppose!

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Daniel...Marudi and Miri are still producing the RSS grade rubber..And I wonder how they get smoked!! May be some people still have smoke houses! Thanks for the tip.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

About 15 years ago people still tap lots of rubber as a way of making a living. Then 10 years ago Sawit became the in thing....and also oil and gas.

Ann said...

My dad's family in upper lanang road, were rubber garden until the govt took them back. Otherwise,I am rich also. lol

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Ann
Your dad's rubber garden should be worth a lot...what do you mean the government took the land back? You mean put it under Section 47? Better check it again.

Anonymous said...

harga karet semakin turun, duuuuuuuuuuh kasian nich nasib petaniku. tolonglah petani-petaniku. Bapak-bapak dan Ibu-ibu yang berwenang, cepat ambil kebijakan-kebijakan yang dapat membantu petani-petani karetku

marella bella said...

Bumi Kalimantan salah satu penghasil komoditas karet,namun mulai bulan pebruari 2011 harga karet masyarakat mengalami penurunan yang sangat signifikan, padahal ini merupakan andalan masyarakat (petani karet) untuk dapat meningkatkan pendapatan keluarga.harga karet yang berberapa waktu yang lalu begitu memberikana angin segar hanya bertahan sebentar. Oleh sebab itu kami sangat prihatin.pihak-pihak yang berwenag segeraLAH ambil kebijakan untuk dapat membantu para petani khususnya petani-petani karet.

Anonymous said...

how come miri the lowest? anyone know the real reason behind?

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Anonymous...karet is Indonesian word for rubber or in Malaysia's Bahasa....getah....hope your government and NGO will provide adequate supoort for the rubber tappers....God bless.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Marella...the world should wake up to more equalities amongst rubber tappers!!

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Anonymous....we are also wondering why....hope the authorities will have more control.