Taking a closer look at a rubber tree
While traveling in Thailand you might have seen & passed many rubber plantations. Thailand exports a lot of rubber. Unfortunately the price of raw rubber is not as good anymore. But how does the rubber processing begin? Well first you have to plant rubber trees and you can start the rubber tapping after about 5 to 7 years. On the photos you see the first step of the all process .... the rubber tapping. This is done by making an incision in the tree (see photo 1), just deep enough to tap the vessels but without harming the tree's growth. In the incision is put a small tap (see photo 2). The latex then drips into a small bucket (see photo 3). In Thailand this bucket is most times an old coconut shell.
The cutting is most times done in the early morning. And in the raining season it can not be done at all. Rubber trees can be exploited for about 20 years. In Thailand the wood of the trees is used to make furniture. The farmers collect the rubber and make rubber mats of the raw rubber. That is sold to factories that process the rubber. The price of this rubber depends on the quality of the rubber.