Bangkok – Southern Thailand is currently "on alert" over the possibility of pestalotiopsis disease (fungal disease) in natural rubber (NR) plantations, according to the International Rubber Consortium (IRCO).
To date, the disease has affected 382,000 hectares of plantations, mainly in Indonesia and peninsular Malaysia, IRCo board of directors heard in a 16 Aug meeting.
IRCo – the operational arm of the International Tripartite Rubber Council, consisting of Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia – linked the condition to lack of good agricultural practices at a time of “prolonged low and unremunerative rubber prices.”
According to IRCO, the natural rubber production is expected to be negatively affected this year by the outbreak of the disease, as well as other ongoing issues.
The Indonesian government announced 24 July that it expected a drop of at least a 15% in NR production for the full year, as a result of the widespread disease. The country produced 3.77 million tonnes of NR last year.
Thailand also anticipates a decline in production, “due to tapper shortage contributed by unremunerative price level and erratic weather,” the Thai government announced 9 August.
The meeting also noted that Malaysia’ production levels would be low due to the unattractive rubber prices.