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Rubber

(see also previous page)

Plantation

Synthetic rubber. Synthetic rubber is a gift of chemistry, and is a threat to rubber. Here lies the logic behind its inclusion in this chapter. Synthetic rubber demonstrates how resistance leads to the creation of resources. It is largely an outgrowth of the uncertainties of supply of natural rubber during the Second World War. The synthetic rubber industry is mainly developed in the highly industrial nations of the world. The United States, as it claims, greatly reduced its capacity by scrapping and keeping a part of it as insurance against emergency in order to promote international trade in natural rubber and goodwill.



International trade. Malaysia and Singapore share between them nearly 48% of world's exports and are followed by Indonesia representing. 27%. Sri Lanka and Thailand export 6% each.

The United States takes away 50% of what comes to the international market. The United Kingdom holds the second place with 11% and Russia and France are joint third with 6% each.

During World War II the plantation areas of Malaysia and Indonesia were overrun by the Japanese. A great recovery has been made in these area. Again from 1950 onwards the demand for natural rubber is on the decline due to expansion of synthetic rubber industry in U.S.A. U.K. and Germany. World production of synthetic and reclaimed rubber in 1987-88 amounted to nearly 6 million metric tonnes and 1 million metric tonnes respectively. The USA produced about 2.5 million metric tonnes Canada, UL, West Germany and Japan produced 215, 178, 152 and 160 thousand metric tonnes respectively.



The U.S.A, which used to take 50% of the total rubber supply in the market invested heavily in the manufactures of synthetic rubber and in 1988 about 75% of total consumption of rubber in the USA consisted of synthetic rubber. The other important consumers are U.K. 11%, France 6%, Russia 6%, Germany 4% and Canada 3%. As the quality approximates to that of the natural product, synthetic rubber is increasingly becoming a formidable rival. However there is room for both products in meeting the ever growing demands of transportation, and natural rubber may expect to have enough ground to hold on. Moreover growing crisis of petroleum, the basis of synthetic rubber seems to point towards future of natural rubber.

Rubber plantation in India. In India rubber was planted in Travancore and Malabar around 1880. Not until 1902 was the commercial production started. Today India ranks 5th in the world in natural rubber and employs about 150,000 persons in her rubber plantations.

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