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Plant disease may reduce Indonesia's rubber production 15 percent this year

Christian Fernsby |
The excessive spread of Leptosphaeria disease in rubber plantation was estimated to reduce the nation's rubber production this year 15 percent, an Indonesian official said.

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utbreak of the disease, known as Pertalopsios spp, has affected around 381,900 hectares of plantations in the nation's main rubber resource provinces of North Sumatra, South Sumatra, Bangka Belitung, West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan and East Kalimantan.

In his reports presented to a joint coordination meeting, Plantation Director General at the Agricultural Ministry Kasdi Subagyono said that the disease may reduce the nation's rubber production at least 15 percent this year.

In the report Kasdi said the massive spread of the disease was related to the plants' diminishing resilience due to farmers' poor maintenance over their plantations following the subsequent drop of rubber commodity price in quite a long time.

"The government will continue monitoring and updating data and information related to the development of the falling leaves disease," Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for the Economic Affairs Darmin Nasution, who presided over the meeting, was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

The disease, which was initially recognized in 2017 in part of rubber producer provinces, has imminent possibility to spread to other rubber plantations in Jambi, Riau, Bengkulu, West Sumatra and Lampung provinces.

To response the developing situation, government has conducted moves to control spread of the disease spraying fungicide over the affected plants and deliver the fertilizer assistance for the farmers to improve the rubber plants' resilience.

Indonesia has at least 3.66 million hectares of rubber plantations that produced 3.68 million tons of rubber as of 2017, official data said.


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