INTRODUCTION: The Indonesian government is considering the setting up of a national rubber stockpile.
LV Rubber plantation groves 0.10
SV Man cutting tree bark (2 shots) 0.26
SV Tree markings for dates and type (2 shots) 0.30
SV Latex dripping into collecting bowls (2 shots) 0.35
GV Man collecting rubber into large container 0.43
GV PAN Latex being carried away 0.50
GV Samples being taken from cans 0.56
GV Latex being weighed and recorded 1.10
GV/SV Latex being carried up to holding tank (3 shots) 1.25
SV INTERIOR Latex flowing through channels at factory to main tanks (4 shots) 1.41
SV Latex being stirred and sections divided (2 shots) 2.02
SV Men working on crumb rubber (solid) (4 shots) 2.19
SV Man carries crumb rubber to drying house (2 shots) EXTERIOR 2.30
SV TILT UP Man hanging rubber in house 2.38
SV Men carrying baled dry rubber in loading bay 2.43
SV/GV Crates being loaded into containers (2 shots) 2.54
SV Containers being loaded onto ship (2 shots) 3.02
Background: CIANJUR, INDONESIA
INTRODUCTION: The Indonesian government is considering the setting up of a national rubber stockpile. This follows a sharp decline in rubber production over the past six months. Although no firm decision has been made, Indonesia's Minister for Agriculture has asked one leading government owned estate to make preparations for the building of a small, local stockpile.
SYNOPSIS: Indonesia is the world's second largest producer of natural rubber. With last year's high world prices, plantations like this one at Cianjur 160 kilometres (approximately 100 miles) south-east of the capital Jakarta, produced just over a million tonnes of natural rubber. Since the price peaked in February last year (1980) a fall in world demand has pushed prices down by 40 per cent. This has reduced production in Indonesia, leading to a loss in export earnings of 28 per cent.
The watery latex of the rubber tree oozes from the track of a knife cut. After collection, the latex is sieved, then water is added. The next stage of production is to add acid which helps coagulation. The rubber is then processed into pale crepe, smoked sheet or skim rubber.
Rising oil prices have increased demand for natural rubber. A rise of up to 40 per cent in demand for natural rubber, is forecast. Indonesia and Malaysia must boost production if they are to meet demand.
Indonesia already has a scheme designed to increase production capacity to two million tonnes by 1990. There is also a plan to set up a commodities exchange in Jakarta starting with rubber. World bank officials say they are confident Indonesia is on the right course. They say predictions by the government on rising natural rubber demand are accurate.
In another move to try and boost sales, the Rubber Producers Association of Indonesia has asked the government to abolish a five per cent export tax on the product. They say this would lift the short-term hardship to small producers. So far there's been no official response to the request.
Rubber first became known to the world in the 15th century, when explorer Christopher Columbus saw Indians in Haiti play a game with balls made from the gum of a tree. Some 300 years later, a French geographical expedition to South Africa saw the first serious attempt at rubber production being carried out in a primitive native system. Important progress followed early in the 19th century in separate experiments by Scottish inventor Charles Macintosh and English inventor Thomas Hancock. With the invention of vulcanisation by American Charles Goodyear in 1939, the modern rubber industry came into being.
The dependence of the automotive industry for tyres and other components gave new importance to the drops of latex oozing from rubber trees. Then in World War Two, the United States revolutionised the industry with the development of synthetic rubber, taking markets away from natural rubber producers.
Source: REUTERS - WALTER BURGESS