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The Rubber Industry in Malaya

Nature volume 130, pages 394395 (10 September 1932) | Download Citation



THE rubber industry of Malaya is passing through the most critical period which it has yet experienced, so that the issue of a special rubber number of the Malayan Agricultural Journal (vol. 20, part 5) is of particular interest. The recent decision against compulsory restriction of rubber growing, though a disappointment to many, has, by removing the element of uncertainty, enabled the estates to frame their policy more clearly. Under-consumption rather than over-production is the cause of the present crisis, so that it is hoped to rectify matters by more intensive production on areas actually in tapping, and by improving the liaison between the scientific investigator and both producer and consumer. Already great reductions have been effected in the cost of production. Factory improvements, such as the construction and installation of batteries of light sheeting machines in cascade or file formation instead of in line, have facilitated and accelerated the handling of the coagulum, and more rapid methods of drying and smoking have been evolved. Economy has also resulted by the use of treated hessian for packing in place of the usual wooden chests. Considerable increase in the export of latex continues, and the extended application of this form of product to new uses is a hopeful sign of development on at least one side of the industry. Every effort is being made to study the best methods for growing and manuring the crop and for controlling the various diseases and insect pests which attack the rubber plant, so that when the industry emerges from its present difficulties it seems reasonable to believe that a standard of efficiency of production will have been achieved such as was undreamt of in the prosperous time which formerly prevailed.

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