Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian Rubber Producers Association (Gapkindo) has predicted that the country`s rubber output in 2007 will drop by 2 to 3 percent from a year earlier because of the high precipitation in the December 2006-February 2007 period.
"Because of heavy rains, farmers are reluctant to tap rubber trees," Gapkindo chief Daud Husni said on Monday.
The country`s rubber output this year had been projected at 2.26 million tons, of which 2 million tons were exported and the rest to meet domestic needs, he said.
He said the government`s plan to rejuvenate 50 thousand hectares of rubber plantations next year would also contribute to a decline in the country`s rubber output.
The rejuvenated rubber plantations would start production only five years later, he said.
The increasing number of rubber trees cut down by the farmers to meet the demands from the furniture industry would be another factor contributing to the drop in the rubber output, he said.
Furniture makers who use rubber trees would feel safe because they could not be sued for illegal logging, he said.
"Therefore, many furniture makers will persuade farmers to cut their rubber trees in exchange for seedlings," he said.(*)