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Jakarta Post

Farmers bewail low rubber prices, plant disease

  • Yulia Savitri and Rachmadea Aisyah

    The Jakarta Post

Palembang and Jakarta   /   Mon, August 12, 2019   /  06:11 pm
The Jakarta Post Image
Approximately 2.5 million Indonesian rubber farmers have been affected by the recent epidemic, 85 percent of whom are smallholders. (ANN/Eleven Media Group)

A plant disease has spread to a majority of Palembang’s rubber plantations in South Sumatra, amid a plunge in the commodity’s prices and the government’s joint efforts with major rubber producing countries to limit supply. Riza, a farmer from Banyuasin regency in Palembang, did not understand why the leaves of his rubber trees kept wilting and why his plants’ latex production continued to decline. This is the second time he has faced the problem this year. “I was certain that the leaves were falling because of the dry season, but then I realized that many leaves also had measles-like spots,” Riza told The Jakarta Post recently. “I didn’t know the spots were a symptom of a disease.” On top of the epidemic, Riza has been struggling with the high cost of maintaining his family’s 120-hectare rubber plantations, which requir...