[Location Factors] Rubber Plantations in Malayasia, Kerala & South America

Geography2 Comments

India Yearbook
  1. Rubber Plantations
  2. Processing of Natural Rubber
  3. Factor: technology
  4. Rubber: Malaysia
  5. Rubber: Kerala
  6. Factors: Why decline in S.America

In the previous article, we discussed the geographical factors affecting plantation crops particularly Cocoa plantations in South America. Now let’s move to the next topic:

Rubber Plantations

Nature of Raw Material

  • Natural Rubber is obtained from latex of rubber trees.
  • Latex=white milky liquid, collected by making cut on rubber tree bark.
  • Latex=contains 30-40% rubber, rest material lost during processing => preliminary processing is done near Raw material site.

Labour availablility

  • Tapper need to make cuts deep enough to chop the latex tube but without damaging cambium=need skill.
  • Latex is collected by affixing artificial cups on the tree bark.
  • but latex will coagulate in cup, if kept for long=> tapper needs to collect latex regularly
  • Hence rubber collection=need lot of laborers.
other factors:
factorimpact
climate
  • hates cold + likes abundant moisture=both condition met near tropics

Processing of Natural Rubber

rubber plantations

  • Latex from tree=>diluted with water & strained to remove dirt.
  • Diluted latex + acid =rubber coagulates and forms slabs on top.
  • these slabs removed ,pressed in mill to squeeze out liquid
  • slabs=dried=become thin sheets= easy to pack & export

Factor: technology

Rise of Natural rubber demand

  • 1830s: Charles Goodyear of the USA invented vulcanization process= increased the industrial applications of Natural rubber.
  • 1890s: automobile industry= pneumatic cars=needed rubber.

Fall of Natural rubber demand

  • In the 1920s, USA began to develop synthetic rubber. Although natural rubber was still preferred because new technology was costly.
  • But WW2= Japan occupied Southeast Asia=natural rubber export to USA was cutoff.
  • In response, US government developed a huge synthetic rubber industry in a very short time and after WW2, sold it to private companies.

Rubber: Malaysia

Factorimpact
Climatehot moist equatorial climate=suitable for Rubber trees.
Labourimmigrants from China + Tamils from India
Technology
  • Rubber research Institute in Kuala Lumpur
  • new selective breeding methods
  • new tapping methods to cut the labour cost
Government PolicyReplanting:

  • A new rubber tree yields 3-4 times more latex than an old tree.
  • Hence replanting of rubber tree=increases the yield.
  • Malaysian government, provided active support for replanting.

Quality control

  • Government regulates the export quality by “standard Malaysian rubber (SMR)” system e.g. SMR5 grade rubbber, SMR50 grade rubber.
  • Thus, Malaysian rubber comments respect and good prices in international market for its uniform quality.

Rubber: Kerala

In Kerala, Rubber grown on hill slops of W.Ghats in Travancore, Kozikode, Malabar, Kottayam distrcits.

factorimpact
climate
  • Rubber hates cold + likes abundant moisture
  • Kerala being coastal state + hills=both condition met.
  • tapping done in morning to avoid afternoon rains.
soillaterite soil=good growth.
labourAvailable and skiled. One tapper can go through almost 250-300 trees per day.

Kerala= lot of coconuts=their shell is used as “cup” to collect latex. Other than that, not much wisdom is given in books regarding ‘location factor’.

Why decline in S.America’s Rubber industry

Rubber is originally from Brazil, their government had banned export of rubber plant to maintain monopoly However, an Englishman smuggled the seeds out of Brazil, spread Rubber plantation in Sri Lanka and other S.E.Asian countries. But today S.American countries don’t figure in top Rubber producers, why?

  1. South American Countries= prolonged struggles for independence, coups, countercoups =instability=no attention to infra/research necessary for Rubber.
  2. Their governments did not understand the importance of replanting like Malaysians =yields kept decline after every year.
  3. Rubber estates confiscated with change of regimes, land redistributed among peasants= small scale rubber production =cannot maintain ‘uniform quality’ for exported rubber + no more ‘economies of scale’= unit cost of production increased.

In the next article, we’ll discuss the geographical factors affecting the location of sugar Mills in India and Cuba.

  1. Rubber Plantations
  2. Processing of Natural Rubber
  3. Factor: technology
  4. Rubber: Malaysia
  5. Rubber: Kerala
  6. Factors: Why decline in S.America

In the previous article, we discussed the geographical factors affecting plantation crops particularly Cocoa plantations in South America. Now let’s move to the next topic:

Rubber Plantations

Nature of Raw Material

  • Natural Rubber is obtained from latex of rubber trees.
  • Latex=white milky liquid, collected by making cut on rubber tree bark.
  • Latex=contains 30-40% rubber, rest material lost during processing => preliminary processing is done near Raw material site.

Labour availablility

  • Tapper need to make cuts deep enough to chop the latex tube but without damaging cambium=need skill.
  • Latex is collected by affixing artificial cups on the tree bark.
  • but latex will coagulate in cup, if kept for long=> tapper needs to collect latex regularly
  • Hence rubber collection=need lot of laborers.
other factors:
factorimpact
climate
  • hates cold + likes abundant moisture=both condition met near tropics

Processing of Natural Rubber

rubber plantations

  • Latex from tree=>diluted with water & strained to remove dirt.
  • Diluted latex + acid =rubber coagulates and forms slabs on top.
  • these slabs removed ,pressed in mill to squeeze out liquid
  • slabs=dried=become thin sheets= easy to pack & export

Factor: technology

Rise of Natural rubber demand

  • 1830s: Charles Goodyear of the USA invented vulcanization process= increased the industrial applications of Natural rubber.
  • 1890s: automobile industry= pneumatic cars=needed rubber.

Fall of Natural rubber demand

  • In the 1920s, USA began to develop synthetic rubber. Although natural rubber was still preferred because new technology was costly.
  • But WW2= Japan occupied Southeast Asia=natural rubber export to USA was cutoff.
  • In response, US government developed a huge synthetic rubber industry in a very short time and after WW2, sold it to private companies.

Rubber: Malaysia

Factorimpact
Climatehot moist equatorial climate=suitable for Rubber trees.
Labourimmigrants from China + Tamils from India
Technology
  • Rubber research Institute in Kuala Lumpur
  • new selective breeding methods
  • new tapping methods to cut the labour cost
Government PolicyReplanting:

  • A new rubber tree yields 3-4 times more latex than an old tree.
  • Hence replanting of rubber tree=increases the yield.
  • Malaysian government, provided active support for replanting.

Quality control

  • Government regulates the export quality by “standard Malaysian rubber (SMR)” system e.g. SMR5 grade rubbber, SMR50 grade rubber.
  • Thus, Malaysian rubber comments respect and good prices in international market for its uniform quality.

Rubber: Kerala

In Kerala, Rubber grown on hill slops of W.Ghats in Travancore, Kozikode, Malabar, Kottayam distrcits.

factorimpact
climate
  • Rubber hates cold + likes abundant moisture
  • Kerala being coastal state + hills=both condition met.
  • tapping done in morning to avoid afternoon rains.
soillaterite soil=good growth.
labourAvailable and skiled. One tapper can go through almost 250-300 trees per day.

Kerala= lot of coconuts=their shell is used as “cup” to collect latex. Other than that, not much wisdom is given in books regarding ‘location factor’.

Why decline in S.America’s Rubber industry

Rubber is originally from Brazil, their government had banned export of rubber plant to maintain monopoly However, an Englishman smuggled the seeds out of Brazil, spread Rubber plantation in Sri Lanka and other S.E.Asian countries. But today S.American countries don’t figure in top Rubber producers, why?

  1. South American Countries= prolonged struggles for independence, coups, countercoups =instability=no attention to infra/research necessary for Rubber.
  2. Their governments did not understand the importance of replanting like Malaysians =yields kept decline after every year.
  3. Rubber estates confiscated with change of regimes, land redistributed among peasants= small scale rubber production =cannot maintain ‘uniform quality’ for exported rubber + no more ‘economies of scale’= unit cost of production increased.

In the next article, we’ll discuss the geographical factors affecting the location of sugar Mills in India and Cuba.

Mrunal recommends

  1. (free) NCERT, NIOS, TN-Books
  2. Environment by ShankarIAS
  3. Indian Polity M.Laxmikanth (Hindi | English)
  4. Art & Culture by Nitin Singhania (Hindi | English)
  5. Spectrum: Modern History (Hindi | English)
  6. Bipin Chandra: Post Independence
  7. Fast-track to Arithmetic Rajesh Verma
  8. MK Pandey’s Analytical Reasoning
  9. Disha’s Topicwise Paperset (Hindi | English)
  10. School Atlas
  11. Mains: Language papers
  1. (free) NCERT, NIOS, TN-Books 4 History,Geo,Sci
  2. Indian Polity M.Laxmikanth (Hindi | English)
  3. Spectrum: Modern History (Hindi | English)
  4. Maths: Quantam CAT Sarvesh Kumar
  5. Objective General English SP Bakshi
  6. Word Power made Easy -Norman Lowe
  7. Topic wise Solved Paperset by Disha


So far 2 Comments posted

  1. David Harris

    The rubber industry is great as even the French have a erubber plantation can which I can buy

  2. dr.k.vijay

    text duplicated ?

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