tr.v. be·lea·guered, be·lea·guer·ing, be·lea·guers
1. To harass; beset: We are beleaguered by problems.
2. To surround with troops; besiege. is a good word used to describe the natural rubber industry. Producers of the world's most consumed elastomer elastomer (ĭlăs`təmər), substance having to some extent the elastic properties of natural rubber. The term is sometimes used technically to distinguish synthetic rubbers and rubberlike plastics from natural rubber. have long fought natural elements like drought and monsoons, diseases with the potential of destroying the industry and insufficient remuneration. Throw in political instability, linkages to currency fluctuations and product liability lawsuits, and you'll see why the industry is beleaguered.
But the industry is fragmented, which makes it difficult to attack specific problems. The collapse of the International Natural Rubber Agreement showed the difficulty the main NR producers have in reaching a consensus. It's even more difficult for the individual countries to reach consensus among their domestic producers. Over 80% of the planted area for rubber is farmed as smallholdings in the top six producing countries. For many of these, rubber is just the crop they grow now.
As you will read in this issue, some of the problems are being addressed. Mathew Flannery of Ennar Latex describes a new grade of latex in his article that minimizes the risk of latex protein allergy. A low protein latex is also discussed by Abdul Aziz S.A. Kadir along with other new developments from the Malaysian Rubber Board The Malaysian Rubber Board (MRB) is the custodian of the rubber industry in Malaysia. Established on 1 January 1998, it has under its fold three agencies (RRIM, MRRDB and MRELB), which are now merged into one. . An article from the Brazilian Institute of Technology describes a technology to add value for rubber growers.
When INRO in·ro
n. pl. inro
A small, usually ornamented box that is hung from the waist sash of a Japanese kimono and has compartments for holding small objects such as cosmetics, perfumes, or medicines. began operating, hope was that now that the NR industry finally had a coalition of producers and suppliers, many of the R&D needs could be addressed. But the organization seemed obsessed ob·sess
v. ob·sessed, ob·sess·ing, ob·sess·es
To preoccupy the mind of excessively.
v.intr. with pricing and excluded giving attention to other areas. The agreement imploded im·plode
v. im·plod·ed, im·plod·ing, im·plodes
To collapse inward violently.
1. To cause to collapse inward violently.
2. over an unworkable pricing scheme.
Now it's back to the national associations and the couple of intergovernmental entities to push along natural rubber. But funding is hard to come by, considering most of the producing countries are emerging from economic problems. What is glaring to them is the lack of support from the major consumers.
Financing for several rubber projects has come from the Common Fund for Commodities whose membership is open to all countries. Unfortunately, two of the countries (U.S. and France), where the largest tire manufacturers are based, are not members. The CFC CFC
See: Controlled foreign corporation is willing to fund work to combat Corynespora leaf disease providing that co-financing can be found. To date, that hasn't happened.
NR producers think it's time It's Time was a successful political campaign run by the Australian Labor Party (ALP) under Gough Whitlam at the 1972 election in Australia. Campaigning on the perceived need for change after 23 years of conservative (Liberal Party of Australia) government, Labor put forward a that the companies and countries that have benefitted from years of low NR prices help finance R&D to insure future crops.
The laissez-faire attitude towards natural rubber by the major rubber consumers is not only an embarrassment, it's to the detriment of the whole industry.