Jakarta – Major natural rubber (NR) producers Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia have voiced their ‘extreme concern’ over the spread of the leaf fall fungal disease Pestalotiopsis, which has affected large areas of rubber plantation.
Meeting under the framework of the International Tripartite Rubber Council (ITRC) on 4-5 Dec in Jakarta, officials from the three states said that the disease affected 380,000 hectares of plantations in Indonesia, 52,000 hectares in Thailand and 5,000 hectares in Malaysia.
The outbreak is estimated to scale down 70% – 90% of productivity in the worst affected areas and about 30% – 50% in moderately affected regions, said a statement by International Rubber Consortium (IRCo), the operational armed of ITRC.
The three states announced last month that they expected an 800 kilotonne (kt) decline in their combined production this year, as a result of the disease outbreak and low tapping activity.
Over the first six months of the year, ITRC members' NR production for the first half of the year fell 10.6% year-on-year to 492kt.
By contrast, non-ITRC members such as Vietnam, Ivory Coast and Cambodia increased production by 11.56% to 106kt for the period.