Rubber news (update 1): Rubber tappers suffer on price fall, 50:50 split on volume at RM1.90 per kg; Sustainable Malaysia rubber (using German scientific methods) for new condom maker, GM rubber trees for proteins for pharma use, rubber glove sector outlook

22 February 2015: Rubber tappers suffer on price fall, 50:50 split on volume at RM1.90 per kg
As rubber prices fall, a dour Chinese New Year for some BY JAMILAH KAMARUDIN and WONG YU HAN Published: 19 February 2015 10:00 AM On earnings of RM75 a day, how did Lan Siew and his wife prepare for Chinese New Year? They did not. It is unlikely the rubber tapper from Jelebu, in Negri Sembilan, and his family will have meat for their celebrations, as they try to stretch every ringgit following the decline in commodity prices. In his 50s, Lan Siew told The Malaysian Insider on a recent visit to Simpang Pertang in Jelebu, that he had been tapping rubber for more than 10 years but is now hit hard by the  massive drop in the global price of rubber to below RM2 per kg.
“With the help of my wife, we share a daily income of RM150 that is split between us and the plantation owners. This means we get only RM75, each of us having earned RM37 for the day," he said. The income he earns from tapping rubber is based on the current price of RM1.90 per kg.
Lan Siew and his wife wake up at 5am daily, if it does not rain, and work until 10am tapping rubber in a plantation owned by his boss, who stays in a house that is just 300 metres from their own....

11 February 2015: Sustainable Malaysia rubber (using German scientific methods) for new condom maker, GM rubber trees for proteins for pharma use, rubber glove sector outlook

The rubber in your rubbers: the condom company making sexy time sustainable by Leah Borromeo, Wednesday 11 February 2015 07.20 GMT; You should be able to buy a condom that doesn’t require chopping down native jungles, or paying its workers less than the living wage to produce it... “.... we worked together with a university in Germany [who are] experts on sustainable rubber production. We’ll go to Malaysia with German scientists and go through our plantations. Then we’ll test the soil and stay over there analysing stuff and make things better. This includes making sure the minimum wage is paid to workers and knowing what’s in the condoms.... Right now, we’re 10% sustainable. Our goal is to have an 80-90% sustainable product in five years...."

GM rubber trees like jumping with no safety net By SM Mohamed Idris 3:35PM Feb 11, 2015
Late last year, the Rubber Research Institute of Malaysia (RRIM) submitted an application seeking approval for conducting a ‘confined’ field trial of GM rubber trees in Penawar, Kota Tinggi, Johor....... The application was submitted to the Biosafety Department, Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, which regulates genetically modified organisms in Malaysia, under the Biosafety Act 2007. The Genetic Modification Advisory Committee is assessing the application.... The trees, known scientifically as Hevea brasiliensis, will be genetically modified to become ‘living factories’ producing specific proteins for pharmaceutical use. The purpose of the proposed field trial is to evaluate the expression of transgenes in the leaf and latex of the GM rubber trees at different stages of growth, under field conditions....

Rubber Glove Manufacturers Expect Better Earnings; KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 11 (Bernama) -- The Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association (MARGMA) expects better earnings as long as crude oil prices remain low, an industry expert said today.... "Latex is the main raw material for rubber gloves and nitrile gloves are made from crude oil by-product," said Supermax Corp Bhd executive chairman/group managing director, Datuk Seri Stanley Thai Kim Sim.... "If oil prices continue to drop to US$40 from the current US$50 per barrel, it will allow rubber gloves to be competitively priced," he said during a question-and-answer session here today....  He said lower crude oil prices would also translate into lower logistics and transportation costs....  "In tandem with this, the rubber glove industry is projected to grow positively this year, at annual growth of eight to 10 per cent," he said....  Globally, Malaysia remained as the largest supplier of rubber gloves with an estimated global market share of 62 per cent and was projected to grow to 65 per cent in 2020, he said...

Conference season (update 6): downstream merchandising for sustainable palm oil

6 December 2014: downstream merchandising issues for sustainable palm oil

On Wednesday morning I had a long 1 hour session to present on "Downstream merchandising of palm oil - adjusting for sustainability" with a Q&A after. Thanks to Trueventus for inviting LMC International. 

I presented on various key statistics for downstream example the oddity of number of trademarks on sustainable palm oil versus number of products being launched with the troubling "palm oil free" label. 

One palm oil merchandiser (some months ago) pointed out to me that certification to use a trademark to highlight the presence of palm oil is not what many manufacturers want to do. They would rather remain silent on the issue. This may explain the above factoid. Because of this apparent shyness, the logic is that a (presumably cheaper) traceability program that is more inclusive of the supply chain is a good alternative as it may be that the need is for a sort of insurance on the supply chain and not marketing publicity. Let's see how the marketing on sustainability / traceability evolves on this.

Downstream players also need to pay attention to their upstream sourcing strategies as traceability both within and outside certification points to a palm oil mill risk rating system.

29 November 2014: checking out Indonesia snack foods and sauces (post GAPKI)

Post conference, I hit the super market next to the conference venue and stocked up on Indonesia snack foods (instant noodles with a wonderful range of local regional tastes; flavoured chips / crisps from tapioca - spicy ones with lime / lime leaves especially caught the eye e.g. keripik singkong balado dengan daun jeruk) and ready mix sauces for Indonesia favourites like soto ayam, sop buntut, opor ayam and more. Indonesia domestic consumption of palm oil is very big, given the country's large population. However, I agree with a friend that the supermarket aisles in Thailand may have an even larger range of domestic processed and ready foods.

Shopping basket of Indonesia processed snacks and sauces

29 November 2014: Day 2 at GAPKI conference, Bandung

Day 2, I was the first presentation of the day at the morning session in the technology grouping. However, while sustainability may be a technical and/or CSR issue, I focused on the commercial and strategic business issues relating to it.

At technology session

Price outlook speech

This website was pointed out to be for Indonesia palm oil information:

28 November 2014: At GAPKI conference, Bandung

Day 1 was busy with meetings. President Jokowi unable to attend after all. It's a huge crowd here. Good to see industry friends and meet more.
I was here two years ago (venue was Bali), speaking on sustainability and I'm speaking on the same topic early this morning, with some nice data courtesy of work at LMC International. It's a big crowd here and its one of the must-go events of the palm oil calendar (with the highest production values and effort).

At GAPKI's Bandung conference this afternoon, Dr James Fry of LMC International (yes, where I work) will be talking about the energy sector prices in relation to palm oil prices. Energy sector cost of production indicators will also be referred to. That will be worth checking out.
Oil price news (update 5): OPEC keeps production up and oil prices drop, /khorreports-palmoil/2014/10/oil-price-news-its-fallen-from-105-110.html

at the GAPKI gala dinner

at the GAPKI opening on Day 1

View of Bandung
26 November 2014: Post RSPO RT 12 and ICIS Asian Surfactants

These were two useful events. Papers not freely downloadable though.

Our summary of RSPO RT12 here:
/khorreports-palmoil/2014/11/rspo-roundtable-rt12-2014-is-around.html and also search "RT12" in this site.

12 November 2014: MPOC POTS KL 2014 download link

Palm Oil Trade Fair and Seminar (POTS) Kuala Lumpur 2014 - Download Presentation

5 November 2014: At OFIC KL 2014 conference.

MOSTA is the key organiser.  OFI Congress Programme - organised by MOSTA; Awaiting downloadable presentation.
This is AOCS speaker on consumer attitudes and a nice infographic on GMO.