Krabi, Thailand – The natural rubber (NR) production is expected to be negatively affected by an outbreak of pestalotiopsis disease across rubber tree plantations in Sumatra, Indonesia, according to the International Tripartite Rubber Council (IRTC).
In a 27 June meeting, senior officials from IRTC members – Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia – expressed concern that the disease had started to appear affecting rubber trees in Malaysia.
“Prevailing low NR prices has caused smallholders to reduce maintenance cost by neglecting good agricultural practice (GAP) and this contributes to the outbreak of pestalotiopsis disease,” said the IRTC in a 1 July statement.
In view of the severity of the disease impacting the production, member states agreed to carry out further assessment of the total area affected.
In addition to the disease, “erratic weather conditions" and low tapping activities due to the prolonged low prices will continue to affect NR production, the IRTC said.
The meeting also discussed the implementation of the sixth agreed export tonnage scheme (AETS), whereby the members agreed to cut exports by 240 kilotonnes over a four-month period, starting April.
“This [export cuts] had and would contribute to improving the global rubber market and positively impact the wellbeing of rubber smallholders through the improvement of NR prices,” the statement added.