Rubber plants which are spread evenly in villages in West Kalimantan, became the main work as the main source of income for the village communities on average. Just like in Apin Baru Village, Dedai District, Sintang Regency. The rubber plantation is a hereditary legacy for the community.


The community in Apin Baru Village mostly work as rubber tappers. The work was passed down from generation to generation. The clones or types which grow are also the clone generation of 1970s. New land planting is done by pulling the stems growing from the seeds around the stem. This is what they plant on the new plantation.


Rubber has never got treatment, such as fertilization or plant rejuvenation, therefore many are affected by plant diseases and viruses, such as dry tapping (KAS), termite attack, and many are also infected by white root fungus which causes plants to fall by themselves. Even so, the toadstool tapping is still the prima donna. Commonly, the tapping was carried out from 04.00 to 08.00 am, with the results ranging from 5 to 10 kg of wet rubber.


According to Yosep, BPD of Apin Baru, the daily potential of rubber if it is collected, it can produce at least one ton of rubber per day. It means that in 20 working days a month, at least 20 tons of rubber can be collected.


“A quite promising potential for villages which do not have concrete roads, lack of electricity access and telephone signals,” Yosep said.


However, this income is not in line with the welfare and income of the farmers. The national and local policies, until today, have not provided protection for farmers.

“The farmers are still trapped in global policies, where prices are determined by companies in setting and auctioning international prices.” Aloysius stated, a facilitator of rubber farmers in Sintang and Kapuas Hulu.


The local price of rubber in the village range from IDR 5,000-6,000. Besides getting the price from calculations and payments from the distributors, it is also obtained from the type of rubber processed material (bokar / kulat) produced by the farmers.


“This type has created a special branding for the villages considered by rubber factories. It means that the factories make a special assessment, such as the result of processed rubber produced, “he said.


The rubber of Apin Baru Village has a dirty and wet quality. This assessment has an impact on the pricing at the distributors and the rubber factory at the village level.


Not only in Apin Baru, the culture of dirty processing and unstandardized storage is also done by rubber farmers in other villages in West Kalimantan. There are still many remaining pieces of tapped rubber wood in the bokar, ordinary storage by soaking it in ponds or rivers, causing the water content to be relatively high, and changing the structure and the sap content in the rubber.


In the past, farmers also processed clean and thin rubber. The change in processing methods and quality is probably also due to the invention of the rubber chopper used by the rubber factories, so that the production of clean rubber also affects the rubber demand by the rubber factories.


The technique of storage affects the quality. The soaked rubber, when seen and touched, is very different with dried rubber whether it is from the flexibility when pulled, to the color.


Tomas, the empowerment team of PT Kirana Prima, Sintang during the FGD (Focus Group Discussion) stated that dry and clean rubber processing is important for farmers and rubber factory.


“For farmers, this clean rubber will affect the price given by the rubber factory. Meanwhile, for the factory, it will affect the standard of quality processing results ordered by the buyers.” Thomas stated.


After the FGD and the socialization of dry rubber processing, the activity was continued with field practice assessing the quality of rubber farmers. There is a price agreement with the company. The price of soaked rubber is only around Rp. 4000. Clean rubber is worth Rp. 11,000 per kilo.


In fact, on 10 November 2017, 1.7 tons of dry rubber that the group has collected for two months was sold directly to the rubber factory of PT Kirana Putra. Besides getting a quite fair price, this process will also have a huge impact on the village. For example, an increase in the family income of a household. The rubber purchasing system of this group is through the highest price fixing system. It means that the group gets the price the next day when they deliver it, with price that has been set previously.


Thomas emphasized that the trading system is fair where farmers can directly figure out the price of the first buyer. This system is a model for sustainable development,


“There is a common will and mutual agreement regarding the needs wished by the farmers, as well as the needs also wished by the buyers.” Thomas said. (A release from Gemawan /Iis)


Source: Suara Pemred, Page 1 printed, December 4, 2017


Gemawan Makes Rubber Plants Community’s Backbone
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