We are testing whether a simple rubber tapping rainguard can protect latex harvests during the wet season so farmers can minimise their loss.
Findings from Kopernik’s Unmet Needs research in Sanggau, West Kalimantan identified key challenges that smallholder rubber farmers face. Weather was highlighted as a determining factor for the success of rubber harvesting. Rain spoils the collected fluid and heavy rainfall can wash away the entire harvest.
Rubber is one of Indonesia’s highest export value commodities. Indonesia is the second largest natural rubber producer in the world after Thailand. Rubber’s socio-economic value is considered high in Indonesia since the majority of rubber plantations are owned by smallholder farmers.
In West Kalimantan, 91 percent of farm income is from rubber cultivation, with a total of approximately 320,000 smallholder farmers.
Rubber is usually harvested every three days when the conditions are good. Farmers harvest the latex by making a diagonal incision in the tree with a small plastic cup or a coconut shell attached to the tree to collect the dripping latex. The latex is left to coagulate in the cup before it is collected.
When the weather is wet, the farmers are unable to harvest the latex as the water washes away the collected fluid.
In phase one, Kopernik will test whether a rubber tapping rainguard can protect collected latex during the rainy season. The rainguard will need to be affordable, simple and easy to use.
We hypothesize that if farmers use the rubber tapping rainguards, they will increase their yield. It is estimated that a simple tool could increase harvests by up to 50 percent.
We will install 50 rainguards and compare the yield from these trees against 50 trees without the rainguards. We will collect data on the amount of latex harvested under each scenario during a 40-day harvest period in the rainy season.
At the same time, we will investigate the economic viability of adopting this solution in terms of whether the cost of the product will be offset by an increase in income for the farmer.
THE EXPECTED IMPACT
With over 320,000 smallholder rubber farmers in West Kalimantan, and 2.2 million rubber farmers nationally, this product has the potential to have a large impact on increasing the latex yield across Indonesia.
Project Implementation & Technology
Costs associated with project coordination and the technology
Monitoring & Evaluation
Costs associated with data collection, analysis and reporting
Cost of transferring payments internationally, processing online donations (5%) and a contribution to Kopernik's operational costs (15%)
Kopernik Solutions provided a sub-grant to a trusted partner organisation who is implementing this project.