Natural rubber is harvested from rubber trees as latex and it is used in the manufacture of rubber products. Latex is the milky substance obtained from these trees after cutting the barks of the trees and collecting it in jars. This process of harvesting rubber is referred as tapping process. The collected latex then undergoes through coagulation process so as to refine it to produce rubber; the quality is determined by stretch ratio, waterproof properties and resilience.
Besides, some of the commercial uses of rubber includes production of tires, belts, rubber bands, gloves, hoses, erasers, and gaskets as well as being used in flooring, and matting. There are several countries that produce rubber in large scale and most are from Southern Asia.
Below is a list of top 10 largest rubber producers in the world in 2017-2018
This country is ranked as the largest producer of natural runner in the world; its harvested rubber is estimated to be around a third of global production. Over 90 percent of the harvested rubber is for export purposes and statistics show that rubber brings in more income to the GDP than its famous rice. Besides, it is of importance noting that rubber plantations occupy larger portions of land than forests; most of these plantations are in large scale. However, there are more than 1 million small-scale farmers who add to the rubber production making it a huge business in the country. Most of these plantations are in Northern part of the country while some are in the Eastern parts of the country. Thailand is estimated to produce 4,305,069 metric tons annually which is approximately 35.6% of global production.
This country is among the top-rated rubber producers globally and it holds the second position. The area under rubber plantation is about 3.5 million hectares and small-scale farmers are the major owner of rubber plantations. The main locations for production are Riau, Java, Lampung, and North and South Sumatra. Most of the harvested rubber, approximately 90%, is exported and the rest is used in domestic manufacturing industries and automotive sector. Indonesia exports its rubber mainly to countries such as USA, Singapore, China, Brazil, and Japan. The country’s annual production is estimated to be 3,088,400 metric tons which is 27.3% of the global production.
This is the third largest producer of rubber in the world; the country is also the greatest sole exporter of latex. The harvested rubber is exported to more than 190 countries worldwide; some of the greatest importers of Malaysian rubber are Germany, Japan, and United States. Besides, it is worth noting that Malaysia is the leading exporter of medical gloves as well as the chief supplier of condom and Foley catheters. Most rubber plantations are located in the western plains of the Malaysian coastal regions. Jahore state is the largest production location and it is in the Southern part of Malaysia. The country’s annual production is estimated at 996, 673 metric tons which is 8.8% of the global production.
This country is a prime producer of rubber and it holds the fourth position globally. The largest area where production stands at approximately 78% of the total latex produced in the country is called Kerala. The other places where rubber is harvested in India is North East states and Tamil Nadu. Besides, some of the leading exporters of Indian rubber are Sri Lanka, China, Turkey, Malaysia, Spain, Nepal, and Indonesia. Some of rubber products exported are rubber footwear, tires and tubes, pharmaceutical goods, belts and hoses cots. The annual production of rubber in India stands at approximately 891,344 metric tons which is 7.9% of the global production.
China is also among the prime producers of rubber in the world; it ranks 5th and its production continues to increase with every year. Statistics show that the country is the largest consumer of synthetic rubber and leading importer of natural rubber; the world rubber markets are significantly influence by the demand and supply of rubber in China. The country has been producing rubber for about 6 decades; there are about 150 huge rubber plantations and approximately over 300,000 farmers. Besides, the major production regions in the country are Hainan, Guangdong, and Yunnan. The annual production stands at 864,806 metric tons which is estimated to be 8.5 percent of the global production.
This country is among the top rubber producing country as well as leading exporters of latex. The country has over 910,500 hectares with rubber tree plantations; most of the rubber harvested is for export purposes. The Central Highlands and Southeastern part of the country are where the plantations are located with Gia Lai being the major location for rubber production. Moreover, China is the leading export destination of Vietnamese rubber since it receives more than 40% of their latex exports. VietNam produces 789,635 metric tons annually which contributes about 7 percent of global production.
The country is a powerhouse in rubber production and it ranks high among global producers. The country is famous for its expertise to manufacture variety of rubber products that are of high-quality and meets customers’ needs. Philippines hosts about 4,000,000 acres of rubber plantations and investors have pumped around $30,000,000 into rubber farming in the country. Moreover, some of the leading locations for rubber production include Zamboanga, Mindanao, Sumatra and Malaya. The annual estimated production stands at 547,861 metric tons.
8. Côte d’Ivoire
The country is not only known for its cocoa production, it is also a leading producer of rubber and the top-ranked in Africa. Farmers in the country are abandoning other crops to rubber farming since it is more lucrative than others; this has seen a huge rise in rubber production in the country in the recent past. Additionally, the country has about 150,000 rubber farmers who own around 520,000 hectares of rubber plantations while the area under large plantations is 50,080 hectares. The trees are largely grown in the southern part of Côte d’Ivoire but central-eastern and central-western parts are embracing rubber farming. The annual production is estimated at 411,044 metric tons and this production is estimated to rise significantly by 2020.
The country is a haven for rubber production and stands tall among global rubber producers. Rubber farming started in Guatemala around 1940 through United States Department of Agriculture who introduced Hevea brasilensis which is a rubber producing species. The country has over 100,000 hectares rubber trees plantations; most of these plantations are located in the country’s southern coast. Additionally, some of the major producing areas are Retalhuleu, Suchitepéquez, Northern Transversal Strip, Alta Verapaz, and Izabal. The annual production for Guatemala is approximately 356,392 metric tons.
Brazil is among the pioneers of rubber production which started mid-19th century. It is believed that rubber trees originated from South America and especially Brazil where rubber was used to play games. It is worth noting that in the 19th century Brazil was the leading rubber producer in the world and it dominated the world market. However, a fungus attack called Microcyclus ulei infected the rubber trees and destroyed most of the plantations; Amazon’s heavy rains also drowned most of the rubber tress.
This led to huge decline in latex production and other countries overtook Brazil. Additionally, the country has started planting back the trees and they believe in a few decades they will rank as the top rubber producer and regain its lost growly. Some of the area where rubber is grown in Brazil are Sao Paulo State, Mato Grosso State, Natex, Xapuri, Seringal Veneza, Rio de Janeiro, and Feijó among others. The annual rubber production of this country stands at 185,725 metric tons; this production is estimated to increase with the revamped farming of rubber plantations.
The above nations are today’s world top rubber producing countries. With its numerous use rubber is among the raw materials that are most sought after. If you are a farmer you can try venture into it since the market is there and the price is favorable compared to input.