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Full text of "The rubber industry in Brazil and the Orient"

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THE RUBBER INDUSTRY IN BRAZIL 
AND THE ORIENT 




>! Ilcvca Brasilfensis, .MIRAKV, KIVKK 

3 KKKT KKO.M THK GROUND 266 INCHES- 



THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

IN BRAZIL AND THE ORIENT 

BY 

C. E. AKERS 



WITH TWENTY-SIX ILLUSTRATIONS AND TWO MAPS 



METHUEN & CO. LTD. 

36 ESSEX STREET W.C 

LONDON 



/ 



,/Vx 
V" 



J^Vrsi Published in 1914 



CONTENTS 

PART I 
THE RUBBER INDUSTRY IN THE AMAZON VALLEY 

CHAPTER PAGE 

I. HISTORY AND GENERAL CONDITIONS - I ' 

II. LOCAL CHARACTERISTICS - - 15 

VIII. THE PRINCIPAL RUBBER DISTRICTS - 26 
IV. DISEASES AND PESTS COMMON TO RUBBER-TREES 

IN BRAZIL - 40 

V. THE LABOUR-SUPPLY - 5! 

VI. TAPPING - - 64 

VII. YIELD AND DENSITY OF LATEX - - 77 

VIII. CURING AND PREPARATION OF RUBBER - - . QI 

IX. COST OF PRODUCTION - - 105 

X. A COMPARISON OF THE BRAZILIAN AND ORIENTAL 

RUBBER INDUSTRIES - - Il8 

PART II 
THE RUBBER INDUSTRY IN THE ORIENT 

XI. CEYLON - - I2Q 

xii. CEYLON continued - 145 

""XIII. THE MALAY PENINSULA - - l66 

xiv. THE MALAY PENINSULA continued - 1 86 

V 



vi THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

CHAPTER PAGE 

1 XV. THE MALAY PENINSULA Continued - 211 

XVI. THE NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES I SUMATRA - 228 
XVII. THE NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES: SUMATRA 

continued ... 244 

XVIII. THE NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES : JAVA - 260 

XIX. THE NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES: JAVA COn- 

tinued - - 276 

XX. A BRIEF REVIEW OF THE ORIENTAL SITUATION 2QI 

INDEX - - 305 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

MAP OF BRAZIL - Front end-paper 

A GIANT SPECIMEN OF " HEVEA BRASILIENSIS," MIRARY, 

RIVER MADEIRA - Frontispiece 

FACING PAGE 

PORTO VELHO, RIVER MADEIRA, BRAZIL - IO 

HAULING A BOAT OVER CATARACT AT LOW RIVER, 

ABOVE SAN ANTONIO, RIVER MADEIRA - - 22 

KARIPUN INDIANS, RIVER MADEIRA, BRAZIL - - 22 

A RUBBER PROPERTY, RIVER MADEIRA - - 28 

THE MADEIRA FALLS, BRAZIL - - 28 
From " The Upper Reaches of the Amazon," by J. F. Woodroffe 

MUTUM PARANA, MATTO GROSSO, BRAZIL - 34 

RIO BENI, CACHUELA ESPERANZA, BOLIVIA - 34 

KARIPUN INDIANS, RIVER MADEIRA, BRAZIL - 38 

MATTO GROSSO, BRAZIL - 38 

BOM FUTURO, RIVER MADEIRA, BRAZIL - 54 

COLLECTING LATEX, RIVER MADEIRA - - 66 
TAPPING RUBBER-TREE WITH THE MACHADINHA, RIVER 

MADEIRA - - 66 

INDIAN COOLIES TAPPING TREES IN THE PUBLIC 

GARDENS AT PARA- - 72 

vii 



viii THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

FACING PAGB 

FINISHING WATER-PROOF COVERINGS, RIVER GUAPORE, 

MATTO GROSSO - - Q2 

BALLS OF RUBBER (PELLES) - - Q2 

A RUBBER PROPERTY, MATTO GROSSO - - - 96 

SMOKING LATEX, RIVER MADEIRA 96 

PLATFORM FOR DRYING CACAO, CACAUAL IMPERIAL - 124 
CACAUAL GRANDE, RIVER AMAZON - 124 

INTERIOR OF A RUBBER FACTORY IN CEYLON - 136 

A RUBBER FACTORY IN CEYLON, SHOWING A PASSBERG 

VACUUM DRYER - - l62 

A RUBBER FACTORY IN CEYLON, SHOWING RUBBER 

HANGING IN DRYING-SHED - - l62 

AVENUE OF SEVEN-YEAR-OLD HEVEA TREES (CALEDONIA 

ESTATE, PROVINCE WELLESLEY) - 170 

From " Rubber," by Philip Schidrowitz, Ph.D., F.C.S. 

A VIEW OVER PART OF BUKIT RAJAH - - 194 

From " Rubber," by Philip Schidrowitz, Ph.D., F.C.S. 

MAP OF MALAY, JAVA, AND SUMATRA - - Ettd end-paper 



INTRODUCTION 

A GREAT deal has been written concerning the 
rubber plantations of the Orient and the phenom- 
enal expansion that has taken place during the past 
five years ; of the Amazon Valley industry, however, 
very little information has been published, in spite of 
the fact that it was the dominant feature in the rubber 
situation of the world until the end of 1912. While it 
is clear that Oriental developments have altered com- 
pletely the conditions of production, the annual output 
of the Amazon Valley is still a very important factor in 
the market, and it will continue to be so for some time 
to come, on account of the high quality of the latex 
extracted from the thoroughly matured trees of Brazilian 
forests. During my investigations as chief of the Com- 
mission working in the Orient in 1911-12 in connection 
with the conditions of the rubber industry, I was con- 
fronted frequently by the erroneous impressions pre- 
vailing amongst Eastern planters in regard to Brazilian 
methods and resources ; I propose now to describe the 
essential conditions so as to enable accurate deductions 
to be drawn, and a correct comparison made between 
the plantation industry of the East and the production 
of wild rubber in the Amazon Valley. That the Orient 
has still something to learn from Brazil is evidenced by 

ix 



x THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

the efforts now afoot in both Ceylon and the Malay 
Peninsula to manufacture fine hard smoke-cured rubber 
to compete with the Para product. For the Brazilians 
it is absolutely necessary to reach an intelligent appre- 
ciation of the complete revolution in the rubber situation 
created by the development of the Eastern industry 
with the very important factors of cheap labour and 
efficient and enterprising direction. 

The amazing incidents connected with the rapid pro- 
gress of the rubber industry in Ceylon and Malaya since 
1908 partake more of the character of a fairy tale than 
the plain facts of a nineteenth-century ordinary com- 
mercial undertaking. From the position of a constant 
struggle for a bare existence, owners of plantations 
advanced suddenly to an era of most unprecedented 
prosperity. Poverty gave place to wealth, and in all 
directions the conditions of life were transformed with 
an almost incredible swiftness. 

The period of fabulous dividends has passed ; the 
large increased production has brought into play the 
natural result of a regulation of prices on the basis of 
demand and supply. Lower values do not necessarily 
imply any serious injury to properly-managed plantations 
as industrial undertakings, but rather an adjustment of 
the administration and costs of production to a standard 
allowing a fair profit on the invested capital. The wild- 
cat flotations brought out during the period of inflation 
between 1909 and 1911 will be reorganized or disappear, 
and the rubber industry of the Orient will settle down into 
a sound, vigorous enterprise with every prospect of re- 



INTRODUCTION xi 

munerative and steady returns in regard to all properties 
where the initial expenditure has been restrained within 
conservative limits. 

The Brazilian situation differs widely from that of the 
Eastern plantations. The problems to be faced in the 
Amazon Valley are a cheaper labour-supply, reduced 
taxation, and better administration. On those three 
factors depend the future existence of the Brazilian 
rubber industry ; and unless some satisfactory solution 
of these difficulties be found, the production will diminish 
rapidly in the near future, and soon cease to influence 
the world's market. 

Looking back over the past five years, there can be 
no doubt that the paramount difference between the 
producers in the Orient and those of the Amazon 
Valley has been that the former anticipated and made 
ready for a fall in values, while the latter persistently 
believed in higher prices. This attitude of the Brazilians 
has left them unprepared to meet the serious effects of 
Eastern competition, and the consequent shrinkage in 
the money value of the output that was so marked a 
feature during the year 1913. Trade prospects at the 
great manufacturing centres of Europe and America 
show signs of improvement, but they do not justify the 
hope that any sudden increased demand for the raw 
material will lead to a reversion of prices to the level of 
1912 ; the available supplies from the Orient will more 
than suffice to meet the void occasioned by the probable 
diminution in the production of wild rubber from Africa 
and other countries, and in the circumstances the most 



xiv THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

the Orient ; therefore the price must eventually adjust 
itself, no matter how great may be the fluctuations in 
the immediate future. 

Three factors will exercise an important influence 
over the future of the rubber market. The first is the 
advent of the steel wire wound or webbed tyre for 
motor-cars; after long research, a system has been 
found for the manufacture of these tyres with the re- 
quired resiliency at one-third the cost of the rubber 
tyre. The second is that synthetic rubber will become 
a commercial possibility at no distant date. The third 
is the amount of reformed rubber that will result from 
the largely increased production of the crude material. 

C. E. AKERS. 

February, 1914. 



INTRODUCTION 



xv 



NOTE 

IN all considerations of the rubber industry in the 
Orient, the value of the currency unit is a most impor- 
tant factor ; on it depends to a great extent the cost in 
sterling of every pound of rubber produced. The num- 
ber of cents for the daily wage rate varies very slightly 
in the different centres of production, no matter if the 
unit be rupees, dollars, or guilders ; but the influence of 
the monetary unit on the aggregate annual expenditure 
is one of the most prominent features in the situation. 

In regard to the countries dealt with in this volume, 
the following standard of values should be kept in mind 
for all purposes of comparison : 



Country. 


Unit. 


Sterling Value. 


i. Ceylon and India 
2. Malay Peninsula 
3. Sumatra 
4- J ava 


Rupee 
Dollar 
Guilder or florin 
Guilder or florin 


16 pence 

28 

20 
20 



PART I 

THE RUBBER INDUSTRY OF THE 
AMAZON VALLEY 

X 

CHAPTER I 
HISTORY AND GENERAL CONDITIONS 

Origin of the Brazilian rubber industry First steps in manu- 
facture of rubber articles Discovery of vulcanization Varieties 
of Hevca Castilloa or caitcho Hevea Brasiliensis the mainstay 
of the Amazon industry Superiority of the black Hevea The 
white Hevea Itapiru and Bariguda Different qualities of 
rubber Output and classification for season ending June 30, 
1913 Rubber from Ceara Total Brazilian shipments Area of 
rubber-producing lands in the Amazon Valley Principal affluents 
of the Amazon Rubber the only important industry in the 
Amazon Valley Forest vegetation Varieties of timber Slight 
fall in gradient of rivers Strong currents Rivers fed by melting 
snows from the Andes Annual rise in the water-level Inundations 
and agricultural enterprise Lands above flood-level Variations 
of temperature Dry and wet seasons Rainfall Climatic diseases 
Malaria Beri-beri Yellow fever Difficulty of enforcing sani- 
tation measures Anaemic condition of inhabitants Classification 
of population. 

THE origin of the Brazilian rubber industry can be 
traced back for several centuries, to a period when 
the Indian population of the Amazon Valley made 
use of the gum for various domestic purposes. As far 
back as 1536 mention is made by Orviedo y Valle, in 
his " Historia Universal de las Indias," published at 



2 , THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

Madrid in that year, of different articles manufactured 
from the coagulated latex of the rubber-tree by the 
Amazonian Indians. In 1734 La Condamine was sent 
by the Paris Academy in charge of a scientific expedi- 
tion to the Equator, and in 1736 he forwarded to Paris 
a small quantity of rubber under the designation of 
" caoutchouc," giving a description of the uses to which 
it was put. To the species of tree from which this 
rubber was obtained La Condamine gave the name of 
heve, a word of Indian derivation, and this later was 
transformed into hevea, a term covering the many 
varieties providing the principal source of production 
in Brazil and the Orient at the present time. In 1770 
Priestly discovered that caoutchouc would erase pencil- 
marks from paper, and hence arose its common name 
of indiarubber. 

In 1823 the first important step was made towards 
the application of rubber for practical purposes in 
Europe. In that year Charles Mclntosh discovered 
that it was soluble in benzine, and he applied this 
knowledge to the manufacture of waterproof coats and 
other rain-resisting articles. A few years later, in 1832, 
the firm of Chaffee and Haskins founded the Roxbury 
Indiarubber Company in the United States for making 
waterproof materials. It was in connection with this 
latter enterprise that a chemist named Charles Good- 
year, after many experiments, proved that a mixture of 
sulphur with rubber rendered the latter capable of 
resisting great extremes of cold and heat, and this 
process, subsequently known as " vulcanization," was 
adopted generally in the manufacture of all classes of 
rubber goods. 



HISTORY AND GENERAL CONDITIONS 3 

It is from the various species of the Hevea that the 
greater part of the rubber of the Amazon Valley is 
obtained. Of these, some seventeen varieties are 
known to exist, the most common being the Hevea 
Brasiliensis, the Hevea Guayanensis, and the Hevea 
spruceana. The Castilloa elastica, yielding the product 
known locally as caucho, as distinct from goma, or 
rubber, is found principally on the higher reaches of 
the Amazon tributaries, and of recent years has pro- 
vided one-fifth of the total rubber exports from Brazil. 

The mainstay of the Amazon Valley industry is the 
Hevea Brasiliensis, the three varieties most in evidence 
being the black (preta), the white (branca), and the red 
(vermelho). Broadly speaking, it may be said that the 
white and red species belong more particularly to the 
districts of the Lower Amazon and its feeders ; the 
black to the upper rivers and the territories adjoining 
the frontier of Bolivia, and also in certain sections of 
that country. In this latter area are found also trees 
of the white and red variety, the former in greater 
abundance than the latter. 

It is from the latex of the black Hevea that the 
finest rubber is prepared, and when free from impuri- 
ties, and without any addition of latex from other 
varieties, it is undoubtedly of exceptional value on 
account of its high standard of resiliency. The best 
quality of this rubber is classified as "fine hard Para," 
the lower grade being placed on the market as entre 
fina. The tree grows to a great size in girth and 
height, and yields freely, the latex being of high 
density, and easily, although slowly, coagulated by the 
smoke of the Urucury nuts employed for this purpose. 



4 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

Tests made with acetic acid show that fifteen to 
twenty minutes are required before coagulation takes 
place. 

From the white Hevea the rubber obtained is desig- 
nated locally as fraca (weak). It is, however, of good 
quality, and the fraca fina and fine island grades sell 
readily at only 20 per cent, less value than fine hard 
Para. It has less resiliency than the product of the 
black Hevea, and, as a general rule, less care is taken 
in its manufacture, with the result that the percentage 
of impurities is greater than is the case with the rubber 
from the upper rivers. The latex from the Itapiru 
(Hevea Guayanensis) and the Bariguda (Hevea spru- 
ceana) is mixed frequently with that from the white 
Hevea whenever those varieties are plentiful in the 
neighbourhood. 

The latex of the red Hevea reaches the market in 
a condition locally qualified as " soft." It does not 
coagulate as freely as the black and white species, and 
contains a greater percentage of moisture than the 
other two varieties when forwarded for shipment, the 
consequence being a lower selling value. 

Scrap, or sernamby, is an unavoidable by-product, in 
more or less degree, of all classes of rubber, and it 
forms a considerable proportion of the total export 
from the Amazon Valley, often representing 15 per 
cent, of the annual shipments. In the upper rivers 
the scrap comprises only the unavoidable cup coagula- 
tions and the lump formed when the latex is being 
brought in to the smoking-house ; but in many dis- 
tricts of the Lower Amazon the latex is allowed to 
remain purposely in the cups until coagulation has 



HISTORY AND GENERAL CONDITIONS 5 

taken place, and is then collected and shipped without 
undergoing any curative process. 

The gum of the Castilloa elastica is dealt with in 
the markets of Manaos and Para under the designation 
of caucho, but appears in the export returns as part of 
the rubber shipments. It is obtained from the upper 
river districts in Brazilian territory, and from Peru and 
Bolivia. It formed in 1913 more than 23 per cent, of 
the total rubber exports from the Amazon Valley ; but 
it is unlikely that this proportion will be maintained in 
future, for, apart from the deterrent effect of a very low 
market price, the method of collection entails cutting 
down the trees to obtain the latex, and the consequent 
destruction of the source of supply. 

The total output of all grades of rubber from the 
Amazon Valley for the twelve months ending June 30, 
1913, was 43,362 tons. Of this amount, 31,362 tons 
was produced on the upper rivers, including Bolivia 
and Peru, and 12,000 tons in the districts of the Lower 
Amazon and its tributaries. The percentages and 
quantities of all classes for this period were 



Grade. , 


Tons. 


Percentage of Total. 


I. Fine hard Para 
2. Entre Fina and Fraca... 
3. Sernamby 
4. Caucho (Castilloa) 

Total 


16,971 
8,860 
7,400 
10,131 


39-12 
20-44 
17-07 
23-37 


43,362 lOO'OO 



Outside the Amazon Valley the Brazilian shipments 
were 4,000 tons, in round figures, chiefly of the manihot 
varieties, produced in Ceara and the adjacent States. 



6 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

Therefore the total Brazilian crop for the year ending 
I June 30, 1913, was 47,000 tons, equal to 40 per cent, of 
j the world's production. 

In order to understand the general conditions con- 
nected with the rubber industry of the Amazon Valley, 
it is necessary to realize and appreciate the vast area 
covered by the rubber-producing districts. It extends 
from the Atlantic seaboard on the east, and on the west 
to the southern boundary of Colombia, at a point not 
more than 150 miles in a direct line from the Pacific 
Ocean, a total distance of some 3,000 miles. As far as 
Iquitos in Peru, 2,400 miles from the Atlantic coast, 
a regular service of steamers is maintained from Liver- 
pool by the Booth Steamship Company, and beyond 
that place the waterways are navigable for small craft 
for some hundreds of miles. The valley formed by the 
Amazon and its numerous tributaries is fan-shaped, 
with the apex situated 100 miles to the east of Para, 
where the river discharges into the Atlantic. At the 
delta of the river the valley is some 200 miles wide, 
and then it broadens out rapidly until reaching the 
foot-hills of the Andes, where the extreme width exceeds 
1,500 miles. This great area covers 2,400,000 square 
miles approximately, and, in addition to Brazilian 
territory, it embraces large sections of Bolivia, Co- 
lombia, Ecuador, and Peru. A rough calculation 
computes the waterways of the main rivers and their 
tributaries navigable for ocean steamers and river craft 
at 30,000 miles. These waterways, in addition to the 
Amazon, include to the south the Rivers Tocantins, 
Xingu, Tapajoz, Madeira, Madre de Dios, Beni, 
Guapore, Marmora", Araguaya, Purus, Aquiry, Jurua, 



HISTORY AND GENERAL CONDITIONS 7 

Javary, Ucayali, Maranon, and many others ; to the 
north the principal rivers are the Jary, Pary, Trom- 
petas, Rio Negro, Rio Branco, Yapura, Napo, and 
many less important streams too numerous to chronicle. 
It "is on the banks of these rivers that the chief de- 
velopment of the rubber industry has taken place during 
the last quarter of a century, the annual output during 
that period having increased from 10,000 to 43,000 . 
tons. Throughout this enormous territory the only 
established industry of real importance since 1880 has 
been the collection and shipment of rubber. Minor 
enterprises, such as the cultivation of cacao and the 
collection of cinchona bark, were carried on to some 
extent in certain districts, but of recent years these 
declined to such small proportions that they ceased to 
be a factor calling for any serious attention. 

Heavy forest growth is the characteristic feature of 
the vegetation of the whole Amazon Valley. In a few dis- 
tricts a comparatively limited area of savanas, or open 
grasslands, are found; but these are confined princi- 
pally to the country adjacent to the Rio Branco on the 
north and the Rio Beni to the south-west, the latter 
lying within the boundaries of Bolivia. These great 
forests contain quantities of fine timber trees, some of 
the most valuable being red cedar, sandalwood, lance- 
wood, and many varieties of fine hard woods. In spite 
of the abundance of the supply, no systematic effort 
has been made as yet to tap this source of natural 
wealth. Climatic conditions, difficulties and cost of 
transport, and lack of energy on the part of the 
population, have prevented these virgin forests being 
exploited hitherto, but in future years they will become 



8 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

an important factor in the lumber industry of the 
world. It is in these forests that the many varieties 
of rubber-yielding trees are found, but no accurate 
information as to the number is available. There is 
not the smallest doubt that the total runs into hun- 
dreds of millions, and for practical purposes may be 
considered inexhaustible ; but the supply of latex for 
the manufacture of rubber for export is controlled by 
the lack of any large labouring population, and by the 
cost of collection and carriage to the river-banks for 
transport to any commercial market. 

One most remarkable fact in connection with the 
waterways of the Amazon Valley is the very insignifi- 
cant gradient of the rivers. The fall seldom exceeds 
10 feet in 100 miles. The difference between sea-level 
on the Atlantic coast and Iquitos, 2,400 miles inland, 
is less than 200 feet, or approximately 0*0000015 P er 
cent. In spite of this very slight difference in levels, 
the average current in the main river and its tributaries 
in normal seasons is at the rate of four miles an hour, 
increasing to a noticeable degree in times of flood. 
This strong current is accounted for by the discharge 
of water from the melting of the snow in the Andine 
ranges, and the enormous accumulations of rain-water 
in the basin through which the upper rivers take their 
course. 

The melting of the snow in the Cordillera of the 
Andes and the heaviest rainfall take place con- 
currently during a period extending from the middle 
of November to the end of March in each twelve 
months, and it is then that the volume of water in 
the river channels attains its maximum height. The 



HISTORY AND GENERAL CONDITIONS 9 

absence of any adequate gradient between the districts 
of the interior and the seaboard impedes the rapid 
discharge of these additional waters, and consequently 
the rise in the water-level is phenomenal through- 
out all sections of the Amazon Valley. In the season 
1912-13, at Porto Velho, 1,600 miles inland, the River 
Madeira rose nearly 50 feet from the lowest point ; at 
Manaos, distant 1,000 miles from the sea-coast, the rise 
was 45 feet. Even in the main body of the Amazon, 
between Manaos and Para, the differences of the water- 
level were from 12 to 20 feet. In these periods of flood 
the country is inundated for many miles from the 
river-banks, and frequently is under water until the 
beginning of May. The impossibility of controlling 
these annual floods is one of the greatest difficulties 
in the way of any successful colonization and the 
establishment of permanent agricultural and industrial 
enterprises. Owing to these conditions, agricultural 
operations can be attempted only during some five 
months of the year, and therefore all efforts at cultiva- 
tion must be confined to crops coming quickly to 
maturity, or such trees and plants as can resist the 
effects of being constantly in water for months at a 
time. In nearly all districts of the Amazon Valley 
there exist certain lands above the annual flood-level ; 
but as a rule the soil on these higher sections is of 
poorer quality than on the flat, and they lie some miles 
from the river, thus necessitating the construction of 
costly roadways to maintain communication and trans- 
port produce during the period of the inundations. 
Indeed, the cost of any such work would be pro- 
hibitive ; for, to be effective, a causeway above the 



10 



THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 



flood-level would be required, and to build anything of 
the kind in a country where stone is rarely found would 
entail an expenditure out of all proportion to any 
possible results to be obtained from a colonization or 
agricultural standpoint. 

In such a vast extension of territory as that com- 
prised within the area embraced by the Amazon Valley, 
considerable difference of climate must necessarily 
exist ; but throughout a very large section, more 
especially in those districts where rubber-yielding trees 
are most abundant, the variations of temperature are 
not so great as might be expected. In the portion of 
the Amazon Valley situated between the Atlantic coast 
and Porto Velho, a distance of 1,600 miles, the follow- 
ing results were obtained as the average maximum and 
minimum records, extending over a period of the five 
years from 1907 to 1912 : 





Average Fahrenheit. 


Absolute Fahrenheit. 


Location 








Max. 


Min. 


Max. 


Min. 


i. Porto Velho (River 










Madeira) 


857 


67*5 


98-0 


58-0 


2. Manaos (River Negro) 
3. Obidos (River Ama- 


937 


72-3 


98-2 


66-2 


zon) 


87-8 


69-8 


97'5 


65*0 


4. Government Farm 100 










miles east from Para 


87-8 


68 7 


92-1 


62-6 


5- Para 


89-2 


7 I-6 


95*9 


, 66-5 



No accurate statistics are available to determine any 
variations at other points ; but the deductions to be 
drawn from occasional reports and observations are 




>RTO VEI.HO, RIVER MADEIRA. BRAZIL 




I'ORTO VEI.HO, RIVER MADEIRA, I'.RAZII. 



HISTORY AND GENERAL CONDITIONS n 

that the differences are unimportant, except in the 
vicinity of the foot-hills of the Andes, where at the 
higher elevation above sea-level lower temperatures 
occur, especially at night-time. 

For practical purposes the year in the Amazon 
Valley may be divided into the dry and the wet seasons. 
The former covers the months of May to October ; the 
latter extends from November to April. The rainfall 
varies to a marked degree in different sections, owing 
to the existence of the Tumuc Humac and other 
mountain ranges on the southern borders of the 
Guianas. These mountains precipitate the rainfall 
before it reaches the north-eastern part of the Amazon 
Valley, the effect being particularly noticeable through- 
out a section of some 500 miles from east to west, of 
which Manaos and Obidos are the two principal points. 
Outside the influence of these northern mountain 
ranges the rainfall is comparatively equable. Reliable 
records of the meteorological conditions are available 
at five points only. In 1911 these observations showed 
the following precipitations : 



Location. 


Rainfall in Inches. 


i Para 


08 


2. Government Farm at Igarape-Assu ... 


94 
e-i 


4. Madeira-Mai-more* Railway, Porto Velho 


i3 

6-? 







These figures give an annual average of 58 inches 
for the dry sections affected by the Guiana Mountains, 
and 99*33 inches for the districts free from that in- 
fluence. From notes taken in connection with the 



12 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

Rivers Beni, Purtis, and Jurua, and the Acre division 
of Brazilian territory, there is little doubt that the 
average of 99 inches is applicable equally to those 
sections of Bolivia and Brazil, and may be taken 
approximately as the basis generally in the Amazon 
Valley. The maximum rainfall recorded in 1911 was 
4*70 inches in twenty-four hours, at Porto Velho. At 
the same place the average for five years, from July i, 
1907, to June 30, 1912, was I03'96 inches. 

The moist heat prevalent throughout the Amazon 
Valley is conducive to the many climatic diseases 
common to tropical zones. Mosquitoes, flies, and many 
other insects, constitute a pest and cause of infection 
difficult to resist. Malaria, blackwater fever, and 
similar forms of illness, are constantly in evidence. 
Beri-beri and dysentery are common evils. Yellow 
fever has been stamped out of Para, and the necessary 
sanitary measures have been taken to eradicate this 
plague from Manaos, where it has been endemic for 
many years past. Except in the more populous centres, 
such as Para, Manaos, Iquitos, and a few other places, 
it is a practical impossibility to grapple with the 
question of sanitation in the Amazon Valley. With 
a scanty population scattered over an enormous area, 
there is probably less than one inhabitant to the square 
mile ; and to establish any effective system of medical 
assistance, dispensaries or hospitals, is out of the ques- 
tion under existing conditions. Something can be 
done to improve the welfare of the dwellers in the 
various small towns and villages, but this can be carried 
out only at a very heavy cost, and will require years of 
steady effort to achieve. To go farther, and attempt 



HISTORY AND GENERAL CONDITIONS 13 

to enforce public hygiene and adequate medical super- 
vision throughout the districts of the Amazon and its 
tributaries, is only to court disaster and waste immense 
sums of money for no useful purpose. A large pro- 
portion of the population suffers from anaemia, induced 
partly by climatic causes, and partly by the poor 
quality and little variety of the food. The result of 
this widespread anaemic condition of the people is a 
lack of energy in regard to all work, especially amongst 
the European inhabitants, and a general apathy in 
regard to all present or future development of the 
great natural resources of the country. 

As an indication of the effect of climatic diseases 
on the working population, the case of the Madeira- 
Marmore* Railway may be cited. From June, 1907, to 
December, 1912, the pay-rolls show 13,186 men em- 
ployed, and 1,238 deaths, principally due to malaria. 

No proper census of the population of the Amazon 
Valley has ever been taken, and the figures quoted in 
official returns from time to time are guesswork made 
by irresponsible persons at different points on the 
principal rivers. Probably the total number of inhabi- 
tants is about 900,000 approximately, comprising some 
250,000 whites or their descendants, with a certain 
mixture of Indian blood ; 450,000 negroes and mulat- 
toes ; and 200,000 domesticated and wild Indians. The 
white population comprises the descendants of Portu- 
guese and Spanish settlers, and the results of inter-* 
marriage with native Indian women ; Brazilians, 
Bolivians, Colombians, Ecuadorians, and Peruvians, 
who have drifted to the Amazon Valley from other 
sections of South America ; and European immigrants 



14 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

from Portugal and Spain, and a few from Italy. 
Except in the cities of Mandos, Para, and Iquitos, or 
in connection with railway enterprises at Porto Velho 
or elsewhere, persons of British, American, French, or 
German nationality are met with only on rare occa- 
sions. The negro and mulatto part of the population 
owes its origin to the former slaves, and to the immi- 
grants from the States of Ceard, Rio Grande del 
Norte, Parahyba, and Maranhao, who have been 
brought to the Amazon Valley as labourers, or come 
there on their own account owing to the attraction of 
high wages in connection with the rubber industry. 
A small number of negroes from Barbadoes and other 
West Indian islands are found also in various districts. 
The number of native domesticated Indians is not 
large, and they are established principally in Bolivian 
and Peruvian territory. The wild Indians are an 
unknown factor. They are nomads, and they live in 
the interior of the forests for the most part, only 
coming temporarily to the principal rivers on fishing 
expeditions or for trading purposes. As far as possible, 
they avoid all contact with the civilized portion of the 
community. 



CHAPTER II 
LOCAL CHARACTERISTICS 

Land tenure Origin of Brazilian titles to real estate Absence 
of any survey of properties Small value of real estates as security 
for loans Characteristic features of the soil Possible future 
development Tax on land transfer Export and import duties 
Federal and State contributions Political relations of Federal 
and State Governments The waterways of the Amazon Valley 
Impediments to navigation Means of communication and social 
life Exchange and industrial enterprise. 

THE tenure of land in the Amazon Valley is on a 
very unsatisfactory basis ; in the great majority of 
properties the title is defective, and practically always 
open to dispute in regard to boundaries whenever a 
transfer of ownership takes place. The titles of rural 
real estate so far as Brazil is concerned may be classified 
under six separate headings. These are (i) Old grants 
issued by the Portuguese Crown during the colonial 
period ; (2) grants given under the Empire ; (3) con- 
cessions sanctioned after the establishment of the 
Republic in 1889; (4) lands sold or conceded for a 
nominal consideration by the authorities of the States 
of Para, Amazonas, and Matto Grosso; (5) lands 
purchased outright from the National or State Govern- 
ment; and (6) lands acquired by occupation under 
the conditions of settlers' rights. 

With the exception of a very few properties owned 
by foreigners or in the hands of foreign syndicates, no 

15 



16 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

attempt has been made to survey the lands held under 
the various classes of title by which ownership is 
claimed. Boundaries are defined by a certain length 
of frontage to a river, with imaginary lines running 
inland for so many leagues or kilometres, or occasion- 
ally from a point on the river to a hill in the back- 
ground, thence to some other prominent physical 
feature and back to the river-bank. This condition of 
affairs naturally leads to frequent disputes, especially 
in districts rich in rubber-yielding trees ; but the area of 
land is so vast and the population of such scanty pro- 
portions that resource to litigation is almost unknown. 
Might is right in most cases where these boundary 
disputes arise, and the privileges of possession must be 
maintained by force or abandoned to the successful 
intruder. Many of these properties nominally com- 
prise areas of several hundreds of square miles, and 
it happens frequently that large sections have been 
left unexplored by the owners. 

In such circumstances, titles to real estate possess 
small value as negotiable securities for commercial 
purposes. They are not assets against which bankers 
or merchants are justified in making advances of money, 
and are only accepted as additional security in cases 
where loans are contracted to enable the crop of rubber 
to be harvested under conditions entailing the shipment 
of the year's produce to the creditor for sale in Manaos 
or Para, or for export to Europe or the United States. 
This uncertainty in regard to the tenure of land has 
been one of the principal drawbacks in the past to the 
acquisition to any great extent of real estate by foreign 
syndicates, and has proved a serious obstacle to the 



LOCAL CHARACTERISTICS 17 

rapid development of the Amazon Valley, especially in 
connection with properties held under the three first 
headings enumerated. In the case of lands conceded 
for a nominal consideration by the Brazilian State 
Governments, the accompanying conditions, as a rule, 
are not easy to fulfil in the exact terms of the wording 
of the grant ; hence the title is open to dispute in nearly 
all such concessions whenever political considerations 
are strong enough to provoke a hostile attitude on the 
part of the authorities. 

The soil in the Amazon Valley varies to some extent 
in the different districts, but speaking broadly it may 
be described as a red or yellow clay subsoil covered 
with a considerable depth of vegetable mould, this layer 
of humus being particularly rich in organic matter. On 
the foreshore of all the principal rivers, after the 
subsidence of the annual inundations, a deposit of silt 
from two to three feet in depth is left by the falling 
waters, and this is of surprising fertility. If a com- 
parison be made of the river-banks of the waterways of 
the Amazon Valley and those of the Nile, the con- 
ditions for cultivation are distinctly in favour of the 
former. The lack of population is the only reason why 
advantage is not taken of the extraordinarily productive 
qualities of these deposits to cultivate many classes of 
tropical cereals and other suitable crops. If at some 
future period adequate methods are established for 
controlling the waters of these rivers for irrigation 
purposes, and securing the riparian lands from inunda- 
tion, the Amazon Valley may develop into one of the 
greatest centres of tropical agriculture throughout the 
world, and it may become the outlet for the surplus 



i8 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

millions in China and other densely-populated countries 
in Asia and elsewhere. 

On land sales a tax of 6 per cent, is levied, but other 
direct contributions are not onerous, the principal 
impost being a small charge in proportion to the 
number of rubber -trees tapped by the collectors 
employed on each of the various properties. Indirect 
taxation, on the other hand, is exceptionally heavy, and 
takes the form of duties on all rubber exported and on 
merchandise brought into the country. This export 
duty up to the end of 1913 was at the rate of 20 per 
cent, of the value on rubber produced in the States of 
Pard and in the national territories, and 18 per cent, 
for that from Amazonas ; but in January, 1914, the duty 
was reduced to 18 per cent, in the case of Para and the 
national territory, and a further diminution is promised.* 
A duty of 8 per cent, is levied by Bolivia at present, 
but a reduction in the immediate future is proposed. 

The whole question of taxation is on a most unsatis- 
factory basis as regards both the State and Federal 
Governments. In the case of the former, the export 
duties on rubber have yielded a large revenue of recent 
years, and a costly and cumbrous administration has been 
created as a result of the period of high prices from 1909 
to 1912. Heavy public indebtedness has been contracted 
without any compensating benefit to the State, and the 
rubber industry is now called upon to bear the burden 
of the extravagant expenditure incurred during the 
last few years of unusual prosperity. In the present 
situation of the rubber market, it is inevitable that the 
State revenues must show a most serious falling off in 

* Although the State of Para formally agreed to this reduction, 
the lower rate had not come into force in April, 1914. 



LOCAL CHARACTERISTICS ig 

the near future ; and in the existing condition of severe 
competition with Oriental production, it is doubtful if it 
will be possible to levy any export duty at all on rubber 
shipments in the near future if the industry is to survive 
the crisis that has now overtaken it. Unless the pro- 
ducers obtain certain measures of relief, they will be 
ruined, and the whole fabric of the trade of the Amazon 
Valley will be broken down ; but to give any appreciable 
assistance the most drastic economies must be practised 
by the local administrations, and these are extremely 
difficult to effect at the present time. 

All duties on merchandise imported into the Brazilian 
section of the Amazon Valley are collected on account 
of the Federal Government, and the high rates charged 
under the existing tariff are a constant cause of com- 
plaint on the part of every class of the community. 
Industrial enterprise is hampered severely by these 
duties, on account of the increased cost thereby entailed 
for most of the necessities of life causing an abnormally 
high wage rate. The average charges exceed 100 per 
cent, on the value of all imported materials ; and as this 
applies to the canned goods and provisions required for 
the maintenance of the labourers in the interior districts, 
the price of living is unduly enhanced and the cost of 
the production of rubber relatively increased. The 
refusal of the Federal authorities to afford any relief in 
this direction is based on constitutional law, the 
argument being that if any reduction of duties was 
made for the Amazon Valley to aid the rubber industry, 
a similar concession would be necessary for the 
remainder of the States forming the Brazilian Republic. 
This may be the correct interpretation of the letter of 
the law, but the exceptional difficulties confronting the 



20 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

northern States at the present juncture call for extra- 
ordinary measures to save the situation ; and unless 
action is taken in the immediate future to meet the 
conditions now prevailing, a collapse in the industrial 
position must occur very shortly. 

The question of the high duties on imported mer- 
chandise has been the cause of no little friction between 
the States situated in the Amazon Valley and the Federal 
Government, and it is within the scope of practical 
politics that it may lead to a complete readjustment of 
the relations of the northern section of Brazil w ; th the 
administration at Rio de Janeiro. As matters are to- 
day, the fact that the dominant partner is separated 
from Para and Amazonas by a two weeks' journey is a 
factor of too great importance to be ignored. It means 
that all disputes with the Federal authorities must be 
taken at great loss of time and money -to the Federal 
capital, and months may elapse before any decision be 
obtained. A natural corollary to the present state of 
affairs would be an arrangement by which the States in 
the north are allowed exemption from the general tariff, 
or, failing this concession, the declaration of their sepa- 
ration from the remainder of Brazil. 

As an example of the relations existing between the 
Federal authority and the State Governments in the 
north of Brazil, the conditions prevailing in Amazonas 
may be quoted. When the newly-elected Governor 
took office in 1913, he found the Legislature in opposi- 
tion to his policy ; he dissolved the Chambers at once, 
disregarding all the tenets of Brazilian constitutional 
law. At the fresh elections the Governor secured a 
favourable majority; thereupon the members of the 



LOCAL CHARACTERISTICS 21 

former Legislature appealed to the Supreme Court at 
Rio de Janeiro, and obtained a decision declaring the 
new elections to be invalid. The Governor accepted 
the situation, and stated that the former Chambers 
could meet without interference, but that he intended 
to carry on all legislation with the recently-elected 
majority favourable to himself. And so the matter 
remained, both sets of legislators meeting at intervals 
to discuss public affairs, and no effort being made by 
the Federal Administration to enforce the ruling pro- 
nounced in the Supreme Court at Rio de Janeiro. 

It is necessary to refer to the political conditions in 
the Amazon Valley, as they exercise a most powerful 
influence in connection with all industrial enterprise. 
The question of Federal and State taxation is one of 
the most important factors for the Brazilian rubber 
industry, and unless joint action be taken in the imme- 
diate future by the Federal and State authorities, the 
position of the rubber producers will become most pre- 
carious and arouse a spirit of dangerous discontent, 
leading to serious political disturbances. 

It has been the custom to regard the network of 
rivers in the Amazon Valley as providing easy means of 
transport throughout the greater part of these vast 
territories. To a certain extent this popular view is 
not without justification, but there are many circum- 
stances minimizing the usefulness of this system of 
natural waterways. In the first place, the rivers are not 
properly charted, buoyed, or lighted for navigation pur- 
poses, and the blame for this state of affairs can only be 
attributed to the apathy of the Federal authorities. 
Then the cost of fuel is abnormally dear, due in great 



22 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

part to the high wage for labourers handling the coal at 
Para, Manaos, and elsewhere, or cutting firewood on the 
river-banks for the supplies required by passing steamers. 
The crews of vessels engaged in the river traffic are paid 
out of all proportion to the services rendered, and the 
National Coasting Trade Law obliges the owners of 
such craft to employ many more men than are actually 
required for efficient navigation. The port authorities 
are dilatory in despatching and receiving shipping, and 
serious delay, entailing loss of time and money, thereby 
results. Representations to the Federal Government 
in connection with these unsatisfactory conditions have 
availed nothing hitherto, and there is small immediate 
prospect of any practical reforms being adopted to meet 
the urgent necessities of the situation. The consequence 
of the difficulties referred to is that the transport charges 
for freight and passengers are abnormally high, in view of 
the heavy fall in the value of rubber during the last two 
years, and they have become a factor of very great im- 
portance at the present critical stage of the industry. 

Apart from unnecessary obstacles, due for the most 
part to incompetent administration, many natural phys- 
ical impediments to navigation exist in a large number 
of the rivers. These consist principally of cataracts 
and rapids obstructing the passage of all craft except 
flat-bottomed boats or native canoes, and they occur 
notably on the rivers Jurua, Purus, Madeira, Tapajoz, 
Xingu, Tocantins, and Rio Branco. In one case only 
has this difficulty been overcome by establishing a rail- 
way to connect the upper and lower reaches of the river, 
the line of the Madeira-Marmore Company starting 
from below the cataract of San Antonio and giving 




HAULING A ISOAT OVER CATARACT AT LO\V RIVER ABOVE SAN ANT( 
RIVER MADEIRA 




KARIPUN INDIANS, RIVER MADEIRA, HRAZH. 



LOCAL CHARACTERISTICS 23 

access to the navigable waters of the Beni, Marmote", 
and Guapore". An attempt was made also to build a 
railway to open traffic from the Tocantins to the 
Araguaya, but after some thirty miles of track had been 
constructed the effort was abandoned. In some cases 
channels could be cut through the rapids to allow the 
passage of vessels, but broadly speaking the only prac- 
tical means of overcoming these natural obstacles is by 
the provision of railway communication to connect the 
navigable sections of the rivers. It is a public work of 
such great magnitude that its accomplishment is un- 
likely in the present condition of the Brazilian finances. 
In another direction much beneficial work could be 
achieved without any very heavy expenditure by sys- 
tematically clearing the principal waterways of the 
dangerous snags and drift logs brought down by the 
annual inundations. These form a constant menace 
to the steamer traffic, and are the cause of much delay 
in transit, owing to the fact that they render night 
travelling on many of the rivers practically impossible 
with any degree of comfort or safety. 

Telegraphic communication between the Amazon 
Valley and the outside world is maintained by cable 
connection between Para and Manaos, land lines linking 
up Para and Rio de Janeiro by way of Matto Grosso, 
and by wireless stations at Para, Manaos, Rio Branco, 
Porto Velho, Senna Madureira, and Iquitos. The 
cable is the property of a public company ; the wireless 
installations and the land lines belong to the Federal 
Government, and are controlled and operated by Federal 
employes. By the cable an efficient service is available, 
but over the wireless system and the land lines com- 



24 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

munication is dilatory and the subject of constant com- 
plaints. The postal arrangements are sadly deficient, 
and outside the principal towns the delivery of letters 
is always uncertain, and frequently results in a delay of 
months before they are received. 

Outside the more important towns social life can 
hardly be said to exist. The distances between the 
various homesteads on the rubber-producing properties 
are too great to admit of any constant interchange of 
friendly courtesies, and as a consequence the life on the 
rivers is dull and monotonous to an extreme degree. 
During the annual floods from, March to May, in the 
great majority of localities, the only means of moving 
about when leaving the dwelling-house is by canoe or 
flat-bottomed boat, and the effect is that for all intents 
and purposes the inhabitants are marooned for several 
months in the year. The isolation under such condi- 
tions is one of the most trying features of the situation 
for all concerned, while for educated Brazilians or 
foreigners it is a hardship of the most severe description. 
Work is impossible during this epoch of the inunda- 
tions, and, to add to the general misery, swarms of 
insects are a continuous source of irritation by day and 
night. In view of these circumstances it is not surprising 
that a large proportion of the owners of rubber-pro- 
ducing properties abandon their estates for six months 
in the year, and migrate to Manaos or Para, leaving the 
administration of their affairs in charge of managers 
who, for the most part, are lacking in any high standard 
of intelligence or sense of responsibility. > 

No adequate appreciation of the industrial situation 
in Brazil is possible without due consideration of the 
effect of the variation in the exchange value of the local 



LOCAL CHARACTERISTICS 25 

currency in its relation to gold. This factor is of 
special importance in connection with rubber pro- 
duction, for not less than 75 per cent, of the total cost 
is due to payments to collectors working on a profit- 
sharing system. These payments are made in currency, 
whereas the value of all rubber is regulated by the gold 
prices quoted in Europe or the United States. How 
far-reaching is this question of exchange may be 
gathered from the fact that during the last twenty years 
the sterling value of the milreis has varied from sixpence 
to eighteenpence. A sudden drop or rise in exchange 
does not meet with any corresponding difference in the 
rate paid for the necessities of life, and it is only after a 
comparatively prolonged period that the prices of local 
commodities respond to the higher or lower sterling 
value of the currency. At present the established rate for 
nearly all calculations is sixteen pence to the milreis. 
If gold should be drained away from Brazil, and the 
rate fall to twelve pence, a substantial gain would accrue 
to the producer, for he would receive a greater number 
of milreis for every pound of rubber delivered. Where 
daily wages are the rule the amount paid in currency 
fluctuates very slightly, even when substantial variation 
in exchange takes place. Hence it is that when the 
currency depreciates and the national credit is adversely 
affected the situation becomes distinctly more favourable 
for all industrial undertakings where the value of the 
production is regulated by the prices ruling in foreign 
markets. However incongruous the statement may 
appear to be, there is no doubt that national bankruptcy 
might infer an immediate revival of prosperity for the 
rubber industry in the Amazon Valley, and prove to be 
a temporary solution of the present crisis. 



CHAPTER III 
THE PRINCIPAL RUBBER DISTRICTS 

General definition of the Amazon industry Collection of 
castiUoa Rubber-producing area divided into three sections 
The Lower Amazon Highlands of the Lower Amazon The 
central districts Rivers Madeira, Purus, and Jurua Population 
on the River Madeira Rubber-planting on the Madeira, Purus, 
and Jurua Western section of the Amazon Valley Bolivian 
rubber districts Buildings on rubber properties Access difficult 
to upper rivers Expeditions from Peru Acre territory Iquitos. 

THE characteristic features of the Amazon Valley 
rubber industry vary in a very marked degree in 
the different sections of the country, and some explana- 
tion is necessary to emphasize the salient points in the 
principal districts. As a general rule the industry is 
understood to consist of the collection of rubber from 
trees scattered throughout the forests, as opposed to the 
systematic plan of cultivation in plantations prevailing 
throughout the Orient. Broadly speaking this popular 
idea of the Amazon Valley situation is correct, although 
it is qualified to some extent by the fact that some 
hundreds of thousands of rubber-trees have been planted 
from time to time in various localities. An erroneous 
impression, however, has been conceived in many 
quarters, that because the rubber is obtained from 
forest-grown trees it necessitates the annual despatch of 
numbers of expeditions to the interior regions for the 
purpose of collecting the product. In former years 

26 



THE PRINCIPAL RUBBER DISTRICTS 27 

such expeditions were sent from the Pacific slope for 
that purpose ; but that system has long disappeared, 
and to-day practically all the rubber is obtained by the 
employes of permanent establishments working regu- 
larly within the circumscribed areas of their respective 
concessions. The only variation from this rule is in 
the case of certain districts where small gangs of men 
obtain permission to collect caucho or castilloa, and even 
when this occurs stringent conditions are exacted as to 
the terms under which the work shall be done, and the 
subsequent delivery of the product to the owners of the 
property exploited. 

For descriptive purposes, the rubber-producing dis- 
tricts of the Amazon Valley may be divided into three 
sections, and in each of these the methods employed 
differ in many practices. The first section comprises 
the delta of the Amazon, the numerous islands situated 
in the river, and the tributaries discharging into the 
main stream for a distance of some 500 miles from its 
junction with the Atlantic; the second area is the 
territory stretching eastwards from the vicinity of 
Santarem, and including the neighbourhood of Manaos, 
the Madeira, the lower portions of the Rivers Purus and 
Jurua, a part of the Rio Negro, and many other water- 
ways ; the third section takes in the rubber districts of 
Bolivia, the upper rivers, and the country included 
within the boundaries of Peru, Ecuador, and as far 
north as Colombia. 

On the islands in the Amazon delta the land is low- 
lying and subject to the effect of ocean tides. At high- 
water the ground is inundated over a very large propor- 
tion of the area where rubber-trees are found within 



28 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

fairly close proximity to the foreshore. This condition 
applies also to the riparian lands of many of the tribu- 
taries, and to large sections of the main river, the tidal 
influence being felt as far inland as Santarem, a dis- 
tance of some 530 miles from the seaboard. The 
number of trees in these very low-lying districts is 
abundant, but they have neither the development nor 
the healthy appearance of those found in drier locali- 
ties, and they are nearly all of the white variety of 
Hevea Brasiliensis, yielding rubber classed as weak 
(fraca) in the Manaos and Pard markets. In this 
section of the Amazon Valley, the population generally, 
and the rubber collectors especially, live for the most 
part in a state of the utmost poverty. They dwell in tem- 
porary wooden or reed huts built on piles to raise them 
above the tidal level, and they exist on fish caught in 
the river, together with the absolute necessities of life 
purchased with the proceeds of the rubber they take to 
the nearest store for sale. Year after year this desolate 
and wretched existence is dragged out, with small profit 
to the people individually and no substantial benefit 
whatever to the community as a whole. 

On the higher lands of these districts of the Lower 
Amazon some attempts have been made to establish 
plantations of rubber-trees, but seldom with any satis- 
factory results. In many cases the young plants have 
been set out in clearings opened for growing crops of 
mandioca, maize, and other foodstuffs, but it is rarely 
that any effort is made to keep the young trees tree 
from undergrowth and weeds, and where they survive 
at all they are stunted and of such slow development as 
to be of little value. Occasionally the forest is cleaned 




A RUBBER PROPERTY. RIVER MADEIRA 




THE MADEIRA FALLS, BRAZIL 



THE PRINCIPAL RUBBER DISTRICTS 

i 

of scrub, and rubber seedlings planted under the thick 
shade of the bigger trees ; but the growth is abnormally 
backward owing to lack of air and light, and the develop- 
ment in twenty years under such conditions no more 
than equals that attained in one quarter of the time by 
systematic cultivation on plantations in Ceylon or 
Malaya. 

The rubber-trees in this section of the Amazon Valley 
are worked on the estrada system, but in much more 
irregular fashion than prevails elsewhere in Brazil. 
Where the land is comparatively dry, paths are cut 
through the jungle from tree to tree to enable the col- 
lectors to carry out tapping operations and gather the 
latex ; but it happens frequently that in districts subject 
to tidal influence passage on foot is impossible, and re- 
course to canoes is necessary to enable the daily round 
to be made. In these circumstances the total number 
of trees alloted to each estrada is dependent on the exist- 
ing facilities of access, and it varies according to local 
conditions so much so, indeed, is this the case that the 
term estrada may apply to any number from fifty to 
two hundred. Practically no supervision over the col- 
lectors is attempted in regard to methods of tapping or 
preparation of the rubber, and consequently the product 
is of poorer and more uneven quality than that from 
the other rubber-producing districts in the Amazon 
territory'. This section, comprising the islands of the 
delta and the lands of the adjacent waterways, has been 
exploited for a much longer period than the districts of 
the upper rivers, and the output now shows signs of a 
steady diminution in the immediate future, although it 
is provided with a fairly abundant local resident popula- 



30 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

lation,and is not dependent on an imported, and there- 
fore costly, labour-supply. The trees have been so badly 
treated in the past that the yield is seriously affected at 
the present time. 

The second section, from Santarem eastwards for 
about a thousand miles, and including the Rivers Tapa- 
joz, Madeira, and the lower portions of the Purus and 
Jurua, is free from any tidal influence. It is only sub- 
ject to inundation between the middle of March and 
the end of May, as the result of the annual rains during 
the wet season and the increased volume of water caused 
by the melting of the snows in the higher Andirie ranges. 
Throughout this area systematic efforts have been made 
to organize and regulate the rubber industry on method- 
ical lines as far as the surrounding circumstances per- 
mitted, and, faulty as the outcome has been, it is a 
model of progress compared to the conditions existent 
in the Lower Amazon territory. The districts of the 
River Madeira afford the best example of the industrial 
development that has taken place during the last fifty 
years. 

On the properties situated along the River Madeira, 
and to a lesser extent on the Purus and Jurua, perma- 
nent buildings erected at considerable cost indicate the 
profitable nature of the rubber industry in the past. 
These are frequently constructed of stone, brought from 
long distances at great expense, and roofed with tiles 
imported from France or Portugal. In many cases 
where the slightly higher elevation of the land per- 
mitted, quite extensive gardens have been laid out, and 
stocked with flowering plants and fruit-trees obtained 
from Rio de Janeiro or elsewhere. Since the rubber 



THE PRINCIPAL RUBBER DISTRICTS 31 

crisis has developed to an acute stage both buildings 
and gardens have been neglected, the former falling 
rapidly into a dilapidated state, and the latter becoming 
choked with undergrowth and rank weeds. 

In these districts the rubber-trees are found in the 
forests at distances varying from 200 to 250 feet 
apart, and from 130 to 150 trees are allowed to each 
estrada. Pathways are cleared through the jungle from 
tree to tree, and these are cleaned up once a year 
to free them from vines and other quick-growing 
vegetation. To each collector is allotted one or more 
estradas, according to his capacity for work, and also 
with regard to the quality of the trees. Rules are im- 
posed in connection with methods of tapping, but 
these are more often followed in the breach than in the 
observance. Nominally the collection of the latex is 
under the supervision of headmen appointed to safe- 
guard the interests of the owner ; but all discipline is 
slack, and regulations of any kind seldom enforced, except 
in the case of a very few establishments. Many of the 
rubber-producing properties in the Madeira districts 
extend back from the river for several miles, and to 
these inland stations access is obtained by creeks avail- 
able for steam-launches or boats when the water is 
high, or by canoe or road in the dry season. Where 
roads are cut through the jungle, the brush and logs are 
cleared to an extent permitting the passage of pack 
animals, but are not sufficiently open to allow the use 
of wheeled vehicles of any description. In this section 
the lands lying a few miles back from the waterways are 
undulating in character, and for the most part are 
situated above the flood-level; but all communication 



32 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

through them is difficult when the rivers are high, as 
the ravines and depressions fill with water, and the 
majority of the pathways and roads become impass- 
able. One rule established for many years past in the 
districts immediately adjoining the River Madeira, and 
generally adhered to by the collectors, is that the rubber- 
trees shall be tapped only for some 10 feet from the 
ground. This condition is not observed elsewhere in 
the Amazon Valley, overhead tapping to a height of 
20 to 30 feet being a common practice in the delta, 
on the Jurua and Purus, and in the national territories 
of the Acre. 

A small resident population is found in the vicinity 
of the River Madeira, and a certain proportion of the 
collectors and labourers employed are drawn from this 
source ; but in all other districts in this section the work 
of the rubber industry is carried on exclusively by 
labour imported from Ceara and the adjacent States. 
Foodstuffs for the maintenance of the labourers are 
cultivated to some extent in this district, but it is the 
only example of any systematic effort to raise a supply 
of the common necessities of life for local consumption 
to be found throughout these regions until the recent 
fall in the price of rubber forced property owners to pay 
some attention to this important factor in the industrial 
situation. The general conditions on the Madeira have 
been influenced by the additional traffic caused by the 
transport of men and material for the construction of 
the Madeira- Marmore railway between 1907 and 1913. 
Ocean steamers frequently made the journey to Porto 
Velho with cargo for the railroad, and many thousands 
of labourers of various nationalities were imported for 



THE PRINCIPAL RUBBER DISTRICTS 33 

carrying out the works. During this period a steady 
demand existed for many different kinds of produce to 
provision this large labour force, and high prices were 
paid for all supplies of fresh food brought to Porto 
Velho or San Antonio. Under these conditions a 
limited number of settlers were induced to cultivate, 
land and raise crops of fruit and vegetables, subse- 
quently planting rubber-trees on the cleared spaces. 
With the completion of the railway, the demand for 
fresh provisions has rapidly decreased, and what prom- 
ised to become a profitable industry has now been 
abandoned for all practical purposes, and left very little 
permanent impression behind it. 

On the properties adjoining the River Madeira, and 
to a less extent on those situated on the Purus and 
Jurua, the planting of a limited number of rubber-trees 
has been a general practice, extending over a period of 
some fifteen years past. As a rule the clearings made 
for growing mandioca and other food products have 
been utilized for this purpose, but in only very rare 
cases has any subsequent cultivation been attempted. 
The initial growth of the young trees has been retarded 
by rank vegetation, and those that have survived are 
stunted in appearance owing to all natural development 
having been checked by thick scrub. Trees of fifteen 
years of age are no bigger in girth and height than 
those of six years old found in the average plantation 
of Ceylon or the Malay Peninsula. These conditions 
are largely due to the high wages paid to daily labourers, 
and to the inefficiency of supervision when they are 
employed. For an approximate estimate of the plant- 
ing enterprise in this section, it is safe to say that more 
3 



34 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

titan 2,000,000 young trees have been set out during 
the past twenty years, and that less than 20 per cent, of 
these have reached maturity owing to subsequent 
neglect in regard to cultivation. 

The third section of the rubber-producing area of the 
Amazon Valley includes the Brazilian State of Matto 
Grosso ; the lands adjacent to the Rivers Beni and 
Madre de Dios in Bolivia; those comprised in the 
Brazilian national territory extending over the Upper 
Purus and Jurua, and known as the Acre ; the Puta- 
mayo and Iquitos districts of Peru ; and certain por- 
tions of Ecuador and Colombia. It is from this section 
that the bulk of the best quality of rubber, classified as 
fine hard Para, is exported ; and it is from this quarter 
also that the largely increased production of recent 
years has been obtained. It is these districts, more- 
over, that have supplied a very great proportion of the 
caucho (castilloa) that has been such a prominent feature 
in the Amazon Valley for several years past and helped 
so largely towards the development and successful pro- 
gress of Iquitos and the districts in its vicinity. The 
quantity of rubber exported from Iquitos is insignifi- 
cant in comparison to the amount of caucho shipped 
annually from that port. 

In this section the lands immediately adjoining the 
rivers and creeks are subject to annual inundations 
similar to those occurring in the central districts ; but 
a short distance away from the waterways the ground, 
as a general rule, gradually rises to an elevation above 
the flood-level, and in many cases it attains an altitude 
of several hundred feet. These conditions of a dry soil 
are favourable to the development of the black hevea^ 



THE PRINCIPAL RUBBER DISTRICTS 35 

and it is the predominant species of rubber-tree 
throughout these regions. Castilloa also flourishes at 
the higher elevations, but the ruthless destruction of 
the trees during recent years by the caucho collectors is 
a serious menace to its future profitable exploitation. 

In the rubber-producing districts of Bolivia in the 
neighbourhood of the River Beni and the adjacent 
waterways, a considerable proportion of the collectors 
is recruited from the domesticated Indian population 
who have been settled in this part of the country since 
the Inca period. Nowhere else, however, in the Amazon 
Valley is there any regular supply of Indian labourers, 
all efforts to civilize the various nomad tribes having 
proved futile in Brazilian and Peruvian territory. In 
these circumstances the exploitation of the rubber-trees 
has been carried on almost entirely by imported work- 
men, and the expense of recruiting these immigrants in 
Ceara and elsewhere, and transporting them over the 
2,000 miles intervening between this section of country 
and the Atlantic seaboard, has been one of the most 
formidable obstacles in the way of the expansion of the 
industry in the past, and promises to be a very serious 
problem in the future. 

With few exceptions, the buildings erected in the 
third section of the Amazon Valley are of a temporary 
character, and constructed of timber or reeds, with floors 
raised on piles above the level of the annual inunda- 
tions. It is a remarkable fact that, although high and dry 
land is very frequently available within a few hundred 
yards from the banks of the rivers, the general custom 
is to locate the homesteads as close as possible to the 
water, the only explanation being that this habit saves 



36 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

time and trouble in the transport of merchandise and 
rubber to and from passing vessels. There is, indeed, 
very little outstanding evidence in this section of the 
great wealth extracted from these regions during the past 
decade ; and should low prices lead to the abandonment 
of the properties for a year or two, all proofs of civiliza- 
tion would disappear, and the greater part of the country 
revert to its pristine state of jungle and impenetrable 
undergrowth. 

Access to the territories comprised in the third sec- 
tion of the Amazon Valley is made difficult by the pres- 
ence of a rocky ledge which exists for some thousands 
of miles, outcropping to the east of the River Tocantins, 
and following the contour of the foot-hills of the Andes 
in a north-westerly direction for a distance of some 
2,500 miles. This ledge is the cause of the cataracts 
and rapids dividing the upper and lower rivers of the 
southern and western areas ; it passes through the 
State of Matto Grosso, crossing the Rivers Tocantins, 
Xingu, and Tapajoz, thence to the vicinity of Porto 
Velho on the Madeira; it continues to Cachoeira on 
the Purus and Sao Felipe on the Jurua; and finally 
it reaches the Ucayale, to the south-west of Iquitos. 
The cataracts formed by this outcrop of rocky stratifi- 
cation are a serious impediment to navigation ; the fact 
that in the dry season they restrict all communication 
except by flat-bottomed vessels of very shallow 
draught, and that when the river is unusually low 
even these cannot pass the rapids, adds materially to 
the difficulties of working on the rubber properties. 
They increase the cost of transport for both inward 
and outward freight, and necessitate a heavy capital 



THE PRINCIPAL RUBBER DISTRICTS 37 

expenditure for the purchase of large stores of provisions 
to maintain the labourers for many months, until fresh 
supplies can be forwarded by merchants at Manaos or 
Para, this obligation constituting a serious considera- 
tion at the present critical stage of the rubber industry. 

In former years the difficulties of reaching this terri- 
tory from the Atlantic seaboard induced the despatch 
of large expeditions from the Pacific slopes of Bolivia 
and Peru for rubber-collecting purposes. It was from 
this custom the idea arose that the Amazon Valley 
rubber was obtained by organizing such expeditions to 
work the great forest areas situated to the east of the 
Andine ranges. For the past fifteen years these methods 
have been abandoned as unnecessary and unprofitable, 
and the only semblance remaining of the practice is the 
occasional recruiting of gangs of labourers in Bolivia 
and Peru to work on the rubber-producing properties 
of the Acre and other similarly-situated districts. 

The Acre territory has been the scene of much inter- 
national intrigue during recent years. It was claimed 
by Brazil, Bolivia, and Peru, and only after these 
countries had been brought to the verge of war was the 
dispute concerning its ownership submitted to arbitra- 
tion. In the end the greater portion of these districts 
was awarded to Brazil. While this international 
question was pending local politics became disturbed, 
and a movement set afoot by a Colonel Galvez ended 
by proclaiming the territory an independent republic. 
This occurred in 1903, and for some two years subse- 
quently disturbed conditions prevailed, and it was not 
until a military expedition was sent from Rio de Janeiro 
by the Federal Government that order was restored 



38 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

and Brazilian authority recognized once more. Since 
that period the country has been administered as 
national territory under the authority of Federal 
officials. 

Throughout this eastern section of the Amazon 
Valley no systematic attempt has been made to create 
plantations of rubber-trees. Probably this is due to 
the great abundance of the wild rubber and to the 
scarcity of labour. The principal development in these 
districts has taken place in comparatively recent years 
only, and received its strongest encouragement from 
the high prices ruling for the raw material from 
1909 to 1911 ; and during that period all available men 
were employed as collectors, to the complete neglect of 
any form of agricultural enterprise. The result of this 
condition of affairs was that the wage rate reached an 
abnormally high figure, and it has not fallen to any 
extent since the profits of the rubber industry have 
been reduced to a minimum. It is unlikely now that 
any serious attention will be paid to the opening up of 
any plantation industry on a substantial scale in the 
immediate future, the fear of lower prices due to Eastern 
competition acting as a strong deterrent to any such 
innovation. Moreover, the lands comprised in this 
area are still enormously wealthy in virgin trees avail- 
able for tapping whenever the financial situation shows 
any marked improvement, or when different methods 
permit of a decided reduction in the cost of production. 

With the exception of Iquitos, this region contains 
no centres of any particular political or commercial 
importance. Such towns as exist are nothing more 
than distributing posts to supply the necessities of the 



THE PRINCIPAL RUBBER DISTRICTS 39 

rubber industry, and entirely dependent on that source 
of wealth for their existence. The population consists 
for the most part of labourers imported to work on the 
rubber-producing properties, and they seldom become 
permanent settlers on the land. There are many tribes 
of wild Indians in these districts, but they come little 
in contact with the civilized portion of the community, 
and retire from the waterways to the interior of the 
forests as soon as settlements spring up on the banks 
of the rivers. They show determined hostility in many 
cases to the advance of civilization, but only attack 
isolated groups or solitary individuals. 



CHAPTER IV 

DISEASES AND PESTS COMMON TO RUBBER- 
TREES IN BRAZIL 

Disease little in evidence Parasitical growths Canker Bark 
disease Cambium rot Experiments in regard to cambium rot 
in 1913 Opinion of Ceylon Government nrycologist concerning 
cambium rot Why Eastern methods are inapplicable in Brazil- 
Cambium rot prevents use of gouge Decay of latex cells The 
borer pest White ants The sauba, or red ant. 

MANY of the diseases in connection with the 
development of Hevea Brasiliensis so familiar to 
the planter in Ceylon and Malaysia are little in evidence 
in the Amazon Valley. Doubtless few, if any, are 
absent, but in the heavy forest they attract no special 
attention unless carefully searched for with some 
specific object in view. Of those commonly observed, 
the most prominent are parasitical growths, canker in 
various forms, bark disease, and cambium rot. Amongst 
the injurious insects are the white ant (termes), the red 
ant, locally known as sauba (Mcodoma cephalotes), and 
the borer. 

Of the parasites, the commonest and most destructive 
is a growth resembling mistletoe. This pest is found 
throughout all sections of the Amazon Valley. Its 
effects are most apparent on old trees, and from these 
it draws out all vitality, until branch after branch dies 
away and the tree is killed. It has most tenacious 
roots, spreads rapidly once it has established a footing, 



DISEASES AND PESTS >i 

and is often propagated from seeds dropped by birds^ 
and lodging in crevices of the bark or in joints where 
moisture has collected. The injurious character of this 
parasite is recognized locally, but no effort is made to 
eradicate it from the trees affected, or in any way check 
its spread. In every district the annual loss from this 
plague amounts to many thousands of trees. 

Canker is of frequent occurrence on both wild and 
planted trees. It is found generally at the junction of 
the main lateral branches with the trunk, where a lodg- 
ment of rain-water has taken place. The effect is to 
rot both branches and stem until the tree becomes 
exhausted and dies. No attention is paid to it, and the 
disease is allowed invariably to run its course, although 
a very little energy at the outset in the direction of 
pruning away the affected parts would insure a com- 
plete recovery. 

The most common form of bark disease is a ftfngoid 
growth carrying a black powdery substance on the 
surface. It appears first near the foot of the tree, and 
gradually spreads up the stem to the main lateral 
branches. For the most part it is found in low-lying 
localities, where the soil is a stiff yellow clay. The 
obvious remedy is adequate drainage and the application 
of lime ; but the circumstances connected with the wild 
rubber industry render any action of this nature 
practically impossible, and where it occurs on planta- 
tions the cost of labour and the general apathy of the 
owners prevent any effective attempt being made to 
grapple with it. 

The existence of cambium rot in the Amazon Valley 
threatens to exercise a rrfbst unfavourable influence in 



42 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

connection with the future progress of the rubber 
industry. It is not so much on account of the actual 
damage caused by this disease at present that it is to 
be dreaded, but for the fact that recent experiments 
demonstrate that it breaks out in virulent form when 
Oriental methods of tapping are attempted. This 
means that the herring-bone system cannot be em ployed 
in order to obtain a greater yield of latex with no 
additional labour force, and by such means reduce 
substantially the ultimate cost of production. It will 
be explained at a later period why this condition is 
such a very important factor in the prosperity of 
the industry. The disease occurs on trees tapped 
with the small axe (machadinho) as well as on those 
worked with the gouge on the herring-bone system in 
vogue in the Orient ; it is neither so apparent nor so 
destructive on the former, on account of the fact that 
the overhanging flap of the axe-cut covers the incision, 
and because the scrap is not collected from the wound, 
but allowed to remain and form a protective shield 
against atmospheric action. Hence, in the case of 
machadinho tapping the rot remains dormant for all 
practical purposes, while with the excision of the bark 
when the herring-bone system is followed no conceal- 
ment of the disease is possible. 

Experiments carried out for some months in 1913 on 
trees in the districts adjoining the Rivers Madeira and 
Purvis, and on a smaller scale near Manaos, with the 
full herring-bone, half herring-bone, and single V 
systems, showed that the rot set in on the tapped 
surface after about one inch of bark had been removed. 
The tool used for this work was the bent gouge, which 



DISEASES AND PESTS 43 

in the Orient has given such excellent results, and is 
preferred by very many planters to the various patent 
knives placed in the market of recent years. The first 
sign of the disease is the appearance of the mycelium 
in the form of a blue mould on the tapped cortex, 
where the cambium is protected only by a very thin 
layer of bark, or is entirely exposed by wounds resulting 
from bad tapping. This mycelium develops rapidly 
from dark spots on the bast tissues to a stage when its 
filaments cover the wounded area, and thence extend 
horizontally and vertically to the remainder of the 
tapped surface. When the disease becomes firmly 
established, an exudation of sticky matter of a resinous 
character frequently takes place on the rotting cortex. 
In low-lying localities, where the soil is cold and damp, 
the trees are affected to a greater extent than on higher 
lands with better natural drainage, but the latter 
conditions are no guarantee of immunity from the 
pest. The effect of this disease is not very serious as 
regards the mortality of the trees, but it is of the 
utmost importance in so far that it weakens the 
quality of the latex to a marked degree. Moreover, 
the labour conditions in the Amazon Valley are of such 
a nature that the methodical treatment of any outbreak 
of disease is never sufficiently thorough to insure satis- 
factory results. The experiments made in 1913 proved 
that in the great majority of cases a healthy bark 
renewal took place under the diseased cortex after the 
lapse of a few weeks, but that for several months the 
proper action of the cambium and latex cells was 
paralyzed to a very great extent by the injuries sus- 
tained. Cambium rot is quite well known in the 



44 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

Orient, but is rendered practically harmless by an 
adequate system of inspection and the application 
of the necessary remedies. Mr. Fetch, the Ceylon 
Government mycologist, recommends that the affected 
cortex be painted regularly with a solution of 20 parts 
of lime, 15 of sulphur, and 50 of water, and he states 
that the rot is checked immediately if this solution is 
used when the disease first appears on the tapped 
portion of the tree. 

In the Preangar District of Java this same cambium 
disease occurs in a form quite as virulent as anything 
seen in the Amazon Valley, and it frequently appears 
in the Matale District of Ceylon. It is not regarded as 
a menace to the future of the industry in Ceylon or 
Malaysia. 

On July 7 last, when lecturing before the Kelani 
Valley Planters' Association, Mr. Petch made the 
following remarks in regard to cambium rot, and 
these apply equally to the Amazon Valley as far as that 
disease is concerned : 

" The second disease I wish to talk about is the 
decay which often occurs on the tapped cortex. It 
frequently happens that the thin layer of original cortex 
which is left overlying the cambium dies in patches. 
This occurs especially in wet weather, and is more 
common, apparently, during the north-east than south- 
west monsoons. The decaying patches usually run 
vertically, and first appear on the exposed cortex 
within an inch of the tapping cut. The first thing 
noticed is the appearance of narrow sunken vertical 
lines just above the cut. Along these lines the thin 
residual layer of original cortex is sunken, and if it is 



DISEASES AND PESTS 45 

cut away a narrow black streak will be found extending 
into the wood. The black line indicates a region of 
decay. 

" What ultimately happens depends to a great extent 
upon the weather. If it continues wet, the black lines 
extend upwards and downwards, and at the same 
time increase in width. If a number of these lines 
have arisen close together, they may coalesce, and thus 
a wide horizontal strip of renewing cortex may be 
destroyed. But more usually a number of parallel 
vertical wounds are formed. When the dry weather 
sets in, this decay stops and the wounds begin to heal 
up. But the renewal is, in any case, rough, and where 
several wounds have coalesced so much cortex is 
destroyed that renewal cannot be completed for many 
years. 

" This decay of the tapped surface is often attributed 
to bad tapping. However, it is as a rule quite easy 
to distinguish. Wounds due to tapping are seldom 
vertical ; they are more usually horizontal. But there 
is a better guide than that. When the tapper cuts 
into the wood, he removes all the cortex overlying the 
wound, and exposes the wood, which can easily be 
recognized by its vertical fibres. But when this decay 
occurs, the thin layer of cortex left after tapping is con- 
tinuous over the wound. It is usually sunk below the 
level of the surrounding healthy cortex, but it is unmis- 
takably there. Even when the wounds are six months 
old and have acquired a swollen margin, the dead layer 
of cortex may generally be found overlying the wood 
in the wound. 

" This decay occurs both in Ceylon and the F.M.S., 



46 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

and in neither country has any explanation of it been 
found, except that it may be caused by the action of 
rain-water on the newly-exposed inner layer of the 
cortex. In Java it is attributed to canker, but there 
everything is attributed to canker at present. Bacteria 
and a Nectria have been found in these wounds in 
Ceylon, but inoculations with both have failed to 
reproduce the decay. 

" Hitherto it has not been considered advisable to stop 
tapping when this decay appeared. Nor has it been 
considered necessary to cut out the decayed cortex, 
because the wounds made by cutting out were in many 
cases larger than those which would have been caused 
if it had been untouched. 

" A method of treatment, which is said to have given 
good results, has, however, been adopted in Java, and, 
as this decay has serious effects as far as regards the 
renewed bark, it should be adopted here. The Java 
treatment is as follows : 

" As soon as the narrow vertical lines are observed, 
the tree is put out of tapping. The decaying tapped 
surface is then washed every four or five days with a 
50 per cent, solution of Carbolineum Plantarium. In 
about four weeks the tree can be tapped again. If a 
large patch has decayed, the dead cortex is cut out 
before treating with Carbolineum." 

To treat forest trees scattered over a wide area in the 
manner suggested by Mr. Fetch for plantations is im- 
practicable as matters stand in Brazil at present, the 
principal obstacles being the lack of intelligent super- 
vision and the abnormally high rate of the daily wage 
earned by labourers in the rubber-producing districts. 



DISEASES AND PESTS 47 

Hence the advantages accruing from a greater yield of 
latex from the application of Oriental methods of tap- 
ping are not possible from a profit-earning point of view, 
even if further experiments demonstrate that the dis- 
ease can be controlled provided proper remedies are 
available. 

The scope of the tapping experiments from which 
the foregoing deductions are drawn extended over the 
greater portion of the districts adjoining the River 
Madeira, actual work on some seventy different prop- 
erties being carried out under the superintendence of 
competent instructors brought for the purpose from 
Ceylon and the Malay Peninsula. These different prop- 
erties were situated at various places between the 
junction of the Madeira with the Amazon and Porto 
Velho, and also at two points near the Madeira- 
Marmore* railway, at distances respectively of 150 and 
1 60 miles eastwards from Porto Velho. Similar 
operations were conducted on the River Purus, on some 
thirty properties situated between its junction with the 
River Solimoes and with the River Pauhiny. Experi- 
ments were made also on a smaller scale in localities 
near Manaos and Obidos, and on the Rivers Tapajoz 
and Xingu. Practically none of these districts were 
free from cambium rot in an active or dormant state ; 
it was only after most careful investigation and observa- 
tion that the decision was reached that the endeavour 
to introduce any excision system of tapping must be 
abandoned, in consequence of the difficulty of dealing 
effectively with this disease. The experiments began 
in August, 1912, and were discontinued in November, 
1913, and were conducted at the expense of the various 



48 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

interests connected with the Booth Steamship Company 
and the Port of Para. It is possible that some sections 
of the Amazon Valley may be free from this pest ; but 
the area tested included both forest and plantation trees, 
dry and wet lands, and all classes of soil, and was con- 
tinued under varying atmospheric conditions. In dry 
weather the wounds healed and the growth of new bark 
was rapid ; but with the resumption of tapping the dis- 
ease reappeared immediately a wet period occurred, and 
this necessitated the suspension of the work. 

Another disease of the bark common to rubber-trees 
in the Amazon Valley is a decay of the latex cells on 
untapped portions of the stem, The result is a copious 
exudation of the gum through the outer skin ; there 
it collects moisture, and leads gradually to the putrefac- 
tion of the surface bark, thence affecting the cortex, and 
finally extending to the wood and rotting away the 
trunk until the tree is killed. The danger from this 
cause would be minimized if the tree trunks were main- 
tained in a clean condition, but here, again, effective 
supervision to this end is not available under existing 
circumstances. 

Of the insect pests, the borer is the most destructive 
to mature forest trees, and no section of the Amazon 
Valley is free from it. Wherever the wood of the stem 
has been laid bare it is liable to attack, and this con- 
dition occurs to a very large proportion of the rubber- 
trees, on account of the careless use of the machadinho 
by the collectors. The borer cuts its way to the centre 
of the trunk, and in a comparatively short time hollows 
out the heart of the tree, leaving it without power to 
resist the force of a strong gust of wind, and with the 



DISEASES AND PESTS 49 

result that it is snapped off a few feet from the ground 
whenever a gale occurs. In more sheltered positions 
the tree remains standing, but weakens and gradually 
dies as the work of the borer progresses. The disastrous 
effects produced by this pest are quite well understood 
locally, and attempts are made in some districts to 
check its devastation by digging out the insect in the 
early stages of its attack on the stem, and also occa- 
sionally by plastering the exposed wood with clay. The 
borer seldom or never enters the trunk of the tree 
through live bark, the latex cells providing efficient 
protection against its depredations. Two species of 
borer are found in Brazil ; they are not unlike in 
appearance, but differ very much in size. 

Another constant source of damage is from the white 
ant (termes). Every district in the rubber-producing 
area is infested with this pest, and no effort is made to 
check its ravages in connection with the wild rubber- 
trees in the forest or those set out in plantations. 

One of the worst enemies to any agriculture develop- 
ment in the Amazon Valley is the red ant (JBcodoma 
cephalotes), known locally as sauba. This plague 
attacks the foliage of rubber-trees of all ages, whether 
in the forest or in planted areas. It strips off the 
leaves and carries them away, leaving nothing but bare 
branches, and in the case of young plants, in addition 
to the foliage, it cuts off the tender growing shoots. In 
a single night a field of several acres of young beans, 
maize, or other foodstuffs, is frequently ruined by this 
pest. The sauba is stated by Bates, in his " Naturalist 
on the Amazon," to be the most destructive insect in 
South America, and experience confirms his description 

4 



50 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

of its power for evil. It is difficult to destroy, for not 
only does it excavate immense underground chambers 
deep down from the surface, but it also travels rapidly 
and for long distances whenever attracted by any class 
of vegetation particularly to its liking. The sauba is 
dreaded by the residents of the Amazon Valley, and 
efforts are often made to fight against it by digging out 
or flooding the nests, but such attempts avail little in 
view of the enormous armies of these ants congregated 
in every section of the country. If the Amazon Valley 
should become the centre of a great agricultural 
development in the future, one of the principal obstacles 
in the way of successful results will be the constant 
battle against the ravages of this plague. The means 
at the disposition of the settlers at the present time are 
quite inadequate to overcome this evil. For some un- 
explained reason, the sauba avoids the fertile alluvial 
deposits on the foreshore available for cultivation when 
the rivers are low. 



CHAPTER V 
THE LABOUR-SUPPLY 

No relief suggested by Federal or State Government Recruit- 
ing of labourers Engagement and transport of labourers 
Relations between master and man Housing accommodation- 
Allotment of work Percentage of labour force employed as col- 
lectorsRates of wages Supervision of work Women and 
children Discipline on rubber estates The truck system 
Methods of payment Effects of truck system Truck system in 
Bolivia and Peru Food- supplies. 

r I ^HE labour-supply is one of the most important 
JL questions confronting the rubber producers of the 
Amazon Valley at the present time. No practical 
solution has been offered by the Federal or State 
Governments to afford relief to the industry in the 
direction of a more plentiful provision of hands at a 
wage rate proportionate to the severe decline in rubber 
values throughout the markets of Europe and America. 
The suggestions put forward from time to time for the 
encouragement of immigration from Portugal, Italy, and 
Spain, meet with little support, for the climatic and 
sanitary conditions of the Amazon Valley are not con- 
ducive to the employment of full-blooded white men in 
field and forest. The proposal to introduce Chinese 
coolies was rejected on the grounds of the initial 
expense connected with recruiting and transport, a fear 
that the control of any large number of Orientals would 
prove to be a difficult matter, and, finally, on account 

51 



52 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

of a sentimental feeling that Chinese labourers, by 
greater industry and thrift, would make the position of 
Brazilian workmen untenable in the northern States of 
Brazil. While academic discussion has been busy with 
this crucial question of an adequate labour-supply, the 
present acute crisis has overtaken the rubber industry 
without the adoption of any practical measures to 
safeguard the individual or national interests involved. 
The most prolific recruiting-ground for the labour- 
supply of the Amazon Valley in recent years has been 
in the States of Ceara, and to a lesser degree Rio 
Grande do Norte, Parahyba, and Maranhao. Local 
circumstances in Ceara, where constant droughts led 
to a shortage of food-supplies, made life difficult for 
the agricultural population, and a large proportion of 
the able-bodied men were attracted by the high rate of 
earnings prevalent in the rubber districts. A small 
percentage of these immigrants brought their families 
with them, although as a general rule their intention 
was to work for a season, and then return to their 
homes. So long as rubber prices remained high this 
annual migration was a common practice, but since the 
fall in values began, two years ago, the custom has been 
abandoned to a large extent, in consequence of the 
reduced profits and the expense of transportation by 
river and sea. These immigrants from Ceara and the 
other northern States are descendants of Portuguese 
settlers, negroes, mulattoes, and half-caste Indians. 
They live in a poverty-stricken condition in their own 
country, gaining only a bare pittance whether they 
work small farms for their own account or hire them- 
selves out for a daily wage. During the last two years, 
however, the situation in Ceara has undergone a decided 



THE LABOUR-SUPPLY 53 

change, and the construction of railways, irrigation 
reservoirs and canals, and other public works, has 
created a certain local demand for labour, and raised 
serious obstacles in the way of obtaining recruits freely 
for the rubber industry.* 

To insure a supply of labourers, it is customary for 
the owners of large properties to send agents to Ceara 
to engage the men required, and for the less important 
employers to pay a commission to a resident agent to 
contract for the number needed. In both cases sub- 
stantial advances are exacted by the labourers on the 
pretence of providing for their families during their 
absence, or to pay off outstanding indebtedness before 
their departure. After enlistment the men are em- 
barked on board an ocean steamer for transport to 
Para or Manaos; they are carried as third-class pas- 
sengers at the expense of the employer. On arrival at 
Para or Manaos the immigrants are landed, and lodged 
and fed by the employers until transport on a river 
steamer is available to carry them to their final destina- 
tion ; on these river boats they are given deck passages. 
The journey from the date of embarkation at Ceara to 
the time of landing at a property situated on the Upper 
Purus or Jurua frequently occupies from four to five 
weeks, and the aggregate average out-of-pocket ex- 
penses for passages, advances, and maintenance, is never 
less than 20 per head. All this expenditure is recover- 
able from the labourer, with the result that he begins 
\vork with a heavy indebtedness to his employer. For 
the employer the position is equally unsatisfactory ; for 
he has very little real hold over the men, and practically 

* Quite recently revolutionary outbreaks in Ceara have caused 
the suspension of all public works. 



54 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

no punishment can be inflicted on them for desertion. 
If the employer can ascertain the whereabouts of an 
absconder, he can take civil process against him for 
debt, but it is unlikely that he will recover any portion 
of his claim. These conditions only refer to Brazil; 
in Bolivia a deserter can be arrested and returned to 
the estate, and by law must remain and work on the 
property until the amount of his indebtedness has been 
discharged. 

A certain number of labourers are recruited annually 
from Para and the immediate neighbourhood, and a few 
also from Manaos. Only a small proportion of these 
belong, strictly speaking, to the permanent resident 
population, the majority being the flotsam and jetsam 
from gangs employed on contract work, various trades, 
deserters from ships, or discharged sailors and others 
who have drifted to the Amazon Valley from various 
causes. They comprise Portuguese, Italians, some 
Spaniards, Brazilians white, black, and mulatto 
negroes from the British West Indies, and occasionally 
coolies from Calcutta who have drifted down from 
British Guiana. These men are engaged by commis- 
sion agents, and forwarded to different parts of the 
rubber-producing districts on the same terms as the 
immigrants from Ceara and the adjoining States. 

From the many thousands of labourers annually 
brought to the rubber properties, a certain percentage 
remain permanently on the estates, partly because they 
find themselves heavily in debt to their employer, and 
frequently for the lack of funds to pay for a return pas- 
sage to their homes. As a general rule the men are well 
treated so far as personal relations between master and 
man are concerned, and the fact that they are charged 



THE LABOUR-SUPPLY 55 

abnormally high prices for the provisions and merchan- 
dise they purchase from the estate store carries very 
little weight with them, provided they are allowed to 
obtain what they desire without any restriction of 
credit. The life appeals to them on account of the 
freedom from restraint and obligation to regular hours 
of work. So long as a collector delivers a fair weight 
of rubber during the month, there is practically no 
interference with his mode of life, and he can, and does, 
take holidays whenever he is so inclined, without asking 
the consent of the employer. The present crisis is 
changing these conditions in many respects; but the 
old-established habits are hard to suppress, and it 
will be some time yet before property owners will be in 
a position to exact regularity of service from the men 
they employ. 

For the most part the housing accommodation for 
the labourers on the rubber properties, especially those 
situated on the upper rivers, is of a primitive and tem- 
porary character, and consists of huts with walls of 
reeds, a floor of split palm stems, and the roof thatched 
with grass or palm leaves. A man may build a hut for 
himself if he chooses to do so, but no compensation is 
allowed for the time occupied for this purpose. No 
attempt is made to enforce hygienic regulations of any 
description, with the result that the conditions in the 
vicinity of these dwellings are always offensive. The 
labourers are not encouraged to cultivate any plots of 
land in their spare time, the reason being that any food- 
stuffs produced would mean a proportionate decrease in 
the quantity of provisions purchased at the store, and a 
corresponding loss of profit to the owner. 



56 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

The allotment of work is made by estradas con- 
taining a varying number of rubber-trees. In the 
Madeira districts the rule is to mark out 130 to 
150 trees to each estrada, according to the inter- 
vening distances ; in the Purus and Jurua districts 
the number is often 200, and sometimes more. In 
the former the custom is to set aside one estrada for 
each collector, and this is supposed to be tapped 
daily ; in the latter two estradas are reserved generally 
for each man, and these are tapped on alternate 
days. Once the allotment of estradas is made, the 
collector becomes a temporary partner with the owners ; 
for he is paid by a percentage of the rubber collected, 
and this is fixed in most districts at one-half of the 
amount delivered. The collector prepares the rubber 
daily, and he brings it fortnightly to the storekeeper to 
be weighed, with no restrictions as to quantity and very 
little care as to quality. 

Fully 90 per cent, of the labour force employed on 
the rubber properties is occupied in the collection and 
preparation of latex, and only some 10 per cent, is in 
receipt of a daily wage. These men are supposed 
nominally to work for ten hours each day; they are 
paid at rates varying greatly in different sections of the 
Amazon Valley. Near Para a labourer earns from four 
to five shillings daily without rations, and in the vicinity 
of Manaos the rate is six to eight shillings without 
food ; in the districts adjoining the River Madeira the 
average pay is seven shillings per day, or seven pounds 
sterling per month, with rations. In the neighbourhood 
of the Madeira-Marmore' Railway men are paid ten 
shillings a day with rations. In the districts of the 



THE LABOUR-SUPPLY 57 

Purus and Jurua the average daily wage is from ten to 
twelve shillings with rations. While these rates appear 
at first sight to be extraordinarily high, the actual value 
is modified to a very considerable extent by the fact 
that the truck system is in vogue in connection with all 
disbursements. 

Supervision over the work of the collectors in the 
estradas and in the preparation of the rubber is delegated 
to fiscales, or foremen. As a general rule these men 
perform their duties in a most incompetent and per- 
functory manner, and it is the exception to find a man 
who is willing to make any real effort to protect the 
interests of his employer, or to attempt to enforce any 
instructions issued in regard to the careful treatment of 
trees, or, indeed, any other matters requiring the exer- 
cise of authority and influence. These fiscales are paid 
at rates varying from fifteen to twenty pounds per month, 
with free maintenance. In charge of the property is a 
manager, who is sometimes the owner, but more fre- 
quently a man receiving his salary in the form of a 
percentage of the yearly profits. He is responsible for 
the general conduct of the work and the management 
of the store and accounts. So long as an average 
quantity of rubber is delivered each month, these 
managers pay little attention to any details connected 
with the collection of the latex, and the condition of 
the rubber-trees in all districts bears marked evidence of 
this neglect. 

Women and children take no part whatever in the 
field work of the rubber industry. When a collector is 
married, his wife cooks his food for him, makes some 
attempt at keeping the hut in order, and takes care of 



58 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

the children. As far as possible, she obtains ready- 
made clothing at the store rather than make her own 
garments, and in this and in other household matters 
she is extravagant and thriftless. With very few excep- 
tions, no educational facilities are provided on the rubber- 
producing properties, and the children of resident 
families grow up in an absolutely illiterate state. 

While the discipline among the labourers is extremely 
slack, the general conditions in the rubber districts are 
far more orderly than might be expected in view of the 
total absence of any police force. Serious crime is of 
comparatively rare occurrence. Murders and other 
acts of violence take place occasionally, but only at 
long intervals. This is the more remarkable in face of 
the fact that a rifle and ammunition is part of the 
equipment of every collector. Petty theft is a frequent 
practice, and larceny in regard to rubber is not uncom- 
mon. This latter offence is due principally to the 
instigation of Syrian pedlars, who ply their trade in 
boats and launches on all the waterways. They are 
known locally as regatones, and they carry an assortment 
of cheap merchandise and strong drinks, and with 
these inducements tempt the seringueiro (collector) to 
dispose of rubber far below its market value. These 
Syrians meet with short shrift when their dealings are 
discovered by the owners or managers, and their dis- 
appearance leads to no very searching investigation on 
the part of the local authorities. Whenever disturbances 
do occur on the estates, the onus of restoring order 
rests with the management ; for there is no organized 
civil or military body to appeal to when trouble arises, 
and refractory members of the labour force necessitate 



THE LABOUR-SUPPLY 59 

the application of strong measures to reduce them to 
obedience. Taking all the circumstances into considera- 
tion, the general standard of orderliness is better than 
the isolated situation of the principal districts and the 
mixed character of the population really warrants. 

The truck system is firmly established throughout 
the Amazon Valley as the basis of all money dealings 
with the labourers employed in the rubber-producing 
districts. That it is thoroughly vicious in principle 
does not admit of discussion, and not a single sound 
argument can be advanced to support its past or present 
practice. It is nothing less than legalized robbery, and 
is one of the most potent causes of the existing crisis 
in the rubber industry. The abnormally high wage 
rate is due chiefly to the iniquitous conditions resulting 
from it, and its influence extends to every branch of 
commerce and trade in this section of Brazil. The out- 
come is seen in the high cost of transport, the excessive 
prices of commodities, the restriction of enterprise in 
all directions, and the poverty-stricken surroundings of 
the majority of the inhabitants. The heavy duties on 
imported merchandise undoubtedly add very largely 
to the cost of living, but the prevalence of the truck 
system is more to blame for the difficult situation of 
to-day than any of the taxation imposed on foreign 
supplies by the Federal Government. 

A glance at a few of the main facts connected with 
this baneful system demonstrates the depth to which it 
permeates the present situation. The merchants sell 
to the aviadores (purveyors of goods to the rubber- 
producing community) at a large profit ; the aviadores 
furnish supplies to the rubber districts at charges 



60 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

allowing a very large margin of gain; the owner of 
a rubber estate retails these articles to the seringueiro 
(collector) at prices equal to anything from 50 to 200 per 
cent, above cost. As a result, the unfortunate con- 
sumer pays from 300 to 400 per cent, above the value 
of the goods when first landed at Manaos or Pard. The 
excuse for so much profit-snatching is that credit is long, 
freights high, and -payments uncertain. To a limited 
extent these statements are true ; but the reason at the 
bottom of them is that under existing circumstances a 
chain of indebtedness is a necessary adjunct to the 
methods employed throughout the rubber districts, for 
without it the truck system, and the opportunity it 
offers for illegitimate gain, would very soon become a 
thing of the past. The rubber industry of the Amazon 
Valley can never be conducted on a sound commercial 
basis until this evil factor is eliminated. 

The mode of payment to labourers on the rubber 
properties is for the manager to credit their accounts 
at the estate store with the amount of wages earned or 
the value of the rubber delivered. In the latter case the 
general practice is to allow the collector one-half the 
total price for which the rubber is sold at Manaos or 
Para, after making liberal deductions for loss of weight 
and incidental expenses. Against the value of the rubber 
the collector buys the goods actually required for his 
personal use, and, in addition, any other articles which 
may catch his fancy. Brazilians are naturally extrava- 
gant, and this characteristic is fostered to the utmost 
extent by the custom prevailing of late years in the 
rubber districts to give unlimited credit to the collectors. 
So long as the value of rubber stood at an abnormally 



THE LABOUR-SUPPLY 61 

high price there was something over for the labourer at 
the end of the season, in spite of the charges against 
him at the store ; but at the present time, so far from a 
balance in his favour, there remains only a record of 
debt. And this situation becomes more hopeless for the 
men as time passes ; for they are not permitted to buy 
elsewhere than at the store of the property where they 
work, and hence they have no alternative but to accept 
the exorbitant prices charged against them, or starve. 

The standard of honesty that tolerates the mulcting 
of the labourer through the truck system reacts on the 
general commercial situation in hard times, such as 
have now overtaken the rubber industry. The property 
owners do not discharge their indebtedness to the 
aviadores; the aviadores are unable to fulfil their promises 
to pay the merchants; the merchants fail in their 
obligations to the manufacturers. Such is the state of 
affairs that has been reached to-day in the Amazon 
Valley, and the confusion resulting from these con- 
ditions has enmeshed banks, financial institutions, and 
all varieties of commercial undertakings maintaining 
business relations with this section of South America. 
It entails a severe restriction of credit for many years 
to come. 

In Bolivia the truck system is also the paramount 
feature of all payments to labourers on the rubber- 
producing properties, and it enjoys State protection in 
so far that the law of the country does not permit a man 
to leave the service of his employer unless he can first 
provide for the discharge of his indebtedness. In dis- 
honest hands this means the condemnation of the 
labourer to a condition not far removed from what can 



62 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

only be described as " virtual slavery." Of course, the 
fact must not be forgotten that these conditions are 
relics of feudal habits established many years ago, 
when the country was beyond the scope of civilizing 
influences, and when drastic measures were necessary 
to hold in check the somewhat turbulent semi- Indian 
population. That they continue in force to-day cannot 
be ignored in any consideration of the territories com- 
prised within the area of the Amazon Valley. 

In Peru a similar state of affairs prevails to that per- 
taining to Bolivia, and it leads to abuses in many 
directions. It is a matter for regret that more satis- 
factory arrangements cannot be enacted to regulate the 
relations between master and servant ; but in a country 
of such sparse population, and extending over so vast 
an area, the solution of the problem is beset with diffi- 
culties, and much time must elapse before it can be 
grappled with successfully. Until the spread of educa- 
tion lifts the people out of their present barbaric sur- 
roundings, there is small reason to hope that any 
marked change for the better will become an accom- 
plished fact, or that the existing chains of bondage will 
be relaxed. 

The question of food-supplies for the labourers in the 
rubber districts is one of the greatest importance in 
connection with the future development of the industry. 
The principal commodities absolutely necessary to sus- 
tain life on a fairly healthy basis are beans, xarque 
(dried meat), coffee, farinha (mandioca), maize, lard, 
salt, sugar, and tobacco. At present the great majority 
of these products are imported from other sections of 
Brazil or from the River Plate. The foreshore of the 



THE LABOUR-SUPPLY 63 

waterways in the Amazon Valley during the months 
when the rivers are low contain an ample area of agri- 
cultural land of the finest quality available for the 
cultivation of beans, farinha, and maize, the staple 
articles of consumption. Tobacco does well on these 
alluvial soils, and yields exceptionally heavy crops. 
While the conditions are not ideal for raising cattle, and 
the climate does not permit of the preparation of dried 
meat (xarque), a sufficient number of animals could be 
bred to provide the necessary rations of fresh meat. 
Fish can be obtained from the rivers at most seasons 
of the year. If adequate attention was devoted to these 
natural resources, the cost of living could be diminished 
to a substantial extent, and this would help materially 
to prepare the way for a lower wage rate. To approach 
this question in a practical spirit and establish local 
production throughout the Amazon Valley, it is neces- 
sary to insist that every labourer should cultivate a 
patch of ground large enough to supply his own needs. 
This entails trenching severely on the truck system, 
and therefore it will be the cause of a great deal of 
opposition on the part of owners and managers of prop- 
erties; but unless some such measures are enforced 
the future existence of the rubber industry will be 
seriously affected, and it may even reach the point of 
being threatened with almost complete extinction in 
many districts. 



CHAPTER VI 
TAPPING 

Tapping season Tapping tools Experiments with the gouge 
Collectors supply all necessary implements Hours for tapping 
Overhead tapping Indian system on the Tapajoz Pricking 
the latex cells Tapping castilloa Girth of trees Bark renewal 
Lack of cleanliness Conditions of life for the collectors. 

THE tapping season throughout the Amazon Valley 
extends from the beginning of June to the end 
of January. In the latter month the prevalence of the 
heavy rainfall prevents a continuance of production, 
owing to the cups filling with rain-water and spoiling 
the latex for the purpose of coagulation. In March 
the annual inundation of the riparian lands commences, 
and until the latter part of May the flooded condition 
of the country makes all work impossible in the forests. 
The only tapping tool in general use is the machadinho 
(small axe). It is in the shape of a tomahawk, and is 
made in two sizes the larger sort 4 inches long by 
2 inches wide at the edge, and the smaller 3 inches by 
i inch. It is made of iron, in deference to the wide- 
spread superstition that the use of steel is detrimental 
to the quality of the latex, and eventually causes the 
death of the tree. These axes are fitted with handles 
varying from 3 to 4 feet in length, and head and handle 
together weigh 2 pounds and i pound for the large 
and small size respectively. Many attempts have 
been made to invent a patent tapping instrument so 

6 4 



TAPPING 65 

graduated as to prevent damage to the cambium, but 
hitherto nothing of a practical description has been 
evolved. 

Experiments with the curved gouge, similar to that 
used so successfully in the Orient, have not given satis- 
factory results. The two principal reasons why this is 
the case are that the trunks of the trees have been so 
much injured by the machadinho in past years that any 
form of excision tapping is necessarily slow over the 
rough renewed bark, and consequently a collector taps 
only half the number of trees ; and because the excision 
of the cortex renders the tree liable to attacks of cambium 
disease, resulting in a weakening of the latex. Another 
and serious drawback to gouge tapping is that constant 
and competent supervision is required to obtain the full 
benefits of the system, and this factor is unattainable 
under present circumstances in the Amazon Valley. 
Even on planted and also virgin forest trees the use of 
the gouge is impracticable if it leads to damage from 
cambium rot, as was the case in the experiments tried 
in 1912 and 1913 ; and the fact that a greater yield of 
latex per tree can be obtained by the application of 
the herring-bone system is insufficient compensation 
if this additional quantity is of distinctly inferior 
quality. 

The established custom is for the collectors to supply 
the machadinhos, latex cups and cans, and all other 
implements required for their work. The charge made 
for the small machadinho heads in general use is two 
shillings and eightpence each, at least four times the 
proper retail value. A proportionately extortionate rate 
is made for all other articles the collector may require. 
5 



66 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

The collector begins work in the early morning, 
generally about an hour before daybreak. He carries a 
lantern to enable him to make his way along the estrada 
allotted to him, and he taps each rubber-tree with an 
upward stroke of his machadinho, inflicting a wound in 
the form of an inverted triangle, some 2 inches wide at 
the base, and almost invariably penetrating to the wood. 
The number of cuts made depends on the girth and 
general condition of the tree, sometimes amounting to 
as many as eight, and in other cases to only three or four. 
At the apex of each cut a cup is pushed into the bark, 
to receive the latex dripping from the wounded cells. 
This process is repeated from tree to tree until the end 
of the estrada is reached, an average distance of from 
three to four miles, and containing from 130 to 150 trees 
in the Madeira districts and in those of the lower rivers, 
and as many as 200 trees in the vicinity of the Purus, 
Jurua, and other sections of the upper waterways. As 
a rule the collector completes the tapping before g a.m., 
and he then retraces his steps, to gather the latex from 
the receiving cups and bring it to the smoking-hut for 
coagulation. He also collects any lumps of rubber 
formed in the cups, but none of the bark scrap that is 
such an important item in the returns of Oriental plan- 
tations. There are two reasons for leaving this bark 
scrap untouched. The first is that the amount is prac- 
tically insignificant, owing to the method of tapping, 
and the value low in comparison with other grades of 
rubber; and, secondly, this scrap left in the wound 
forms a protective shield for the cambium and cortex 
against atmospheric influences, and attacks by borer or 
other insect plagues. Indeed, it is not too much to say 





i I 



L 



TAPPING 67 

that this residue of latex left in the cut is the salvation 
of the industry, when the serious injury inflicted on 
the trees from the constant use of the axe is taken into 
consideration. 

Experiments carried out in 1913, using a bent gouge 
instead of the machadinho, showed that a collector could 
only tap from sixty to seventy trees with two or three 
cuts regularly each day, or one-half the number possible 
with the machadinho. It is true that as long as the 
trees remained healthy and free from bark disease the 
yield from the herring-bone system was double that 
obtained by the axe, but in many cases the quality of 
the latex became thin and the percentage of dry rubber 
diminished. The natural and probably correct deduc- 
tion drawn from these results was that the trees were 
I unable to sustain the additional drain upon their 
; resources caused by the greater number of latex cells 
opened in the length of surface exposed by the gouge, 
as compared to the triangular incision made by the 
machadinho. 

Overhead tapping that is, above the reach of a man 
standing on the ground is practically prohibited in the 
Madeira districts, and entirely so in the section of the 
State of Matto Grosso traversed by the Madeira- 
Marmore Railway. However, it is common practice in 
the vicinity of the Lower Amazon and its tributaries, 
on the Purus and Jurua, and in the districts of the upper 
rivers and their affluents. In many cases, especially 
on the islands of the delta, the tapping is carried up 
to a height of 40 feet from the base of the tree. To 
enable the collector to use his axe and gather the latex, 
rough platforms are constructed of saplings, a notched 



68 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

trunk being placed against the tree to give access to the 
staging. Experience proves that overhead tapping is 
no more injurious to the rubber-tree than when the 
latex is drawn from the lower levels ; but the yield is 
not so abundant, and the first cost of erecting the plat- 
form, and the loss of time and the danger to life and 
limb when ascending and descending the primitive 
appliance doing duty for a ladder, are factors that must 
be duly taken into account as affecting a final cost of 
production. It often happens that the lower portions 
of the stems are so badly scarred by ill usage with the 
machadinho that tapping is impossible, and then the 
trees must be abandoned unless the work is continued 
overhead ; in such cases it is absurd to allow old super- 
stitions regarding possible injurious effects to stand in 
the way of a harvest being obtained by utilizing this 
method. 

A system of tapping in vogue among the Indians 
many years ago is still practised to a small extent, 
especially near the River Tapajoz. Split canes about 
ij inches wide are twisted round the lower part of 
the tree, and the interstices between the trunk and 
the cane filled with clay, thus forming a channel round 
the stem. Above this channel incisions are made with 
the machadinho, the latex flowing from these cuts to the 
cane trough, and thence to a tin cup placed at the foot 
of the tree. This method is interesting as a relic of 
ancient usage, but in itself has no particular advantages 
to recommend it as superior to the customary process 
employed ; it has, however, a very important bearing in 
regard to the application of another form of tapping 
attempted in Ceylon and Java, and, although not so 



TAPPING 69 

satisfactory as the system of bark incision with a gouge 
or similar tools, may prove to be the solution of the 
problem in the Amazon Valley, by procuring a marked 
increase of latex without additional labour or the 
exposure of the tree to any danger of damage from 
cambium disease or borer. 

A few years ago in Ceylon a suggestion was put 
forward by Mr. Northway to establish a system of 
tapping the latex cells by the use of incision instead of 
excision methods. The idea was to prick the cells in 
place of paring away the cortex with a gouge or other 
species of tapping knife. For this purpose a many- 
pointed rotary disc some 2 inches in diameter was 
invented, and this was attached to a handle about 
9 inches in length. A shallow cut with a gouge was 
made in the outer bark to provide a channel leading to 
the receiving cup ; this cut was reopened daily, and the 
pricker was run over the exposed cortex with sufficient 
force to penetrate the latex cells, causing the milk to 
exude freely and flow down the channel to the receiver 
at the base of the tree. The objections raised to this 
system by the Ceylon planters were that it was slow in 
comparison with gouge work done by expert tappers, that 
the yield per tree was no greater, and the number of 
trees tapped daily by each coolie was considerably less 
than with the existing methods, and that under efficient 
supervision the prevailing system of bark excision in- 
flicted no practical damage on the trees and admitted of 
a satisfactory renewal within a reasonable period of time. 
In these circumstances the ideas of Mr. Northway made 
little progress in Ceylon or the Malay Peninsula ; but 
they have been applied successfully on his own estate, 



70 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

and also practised with quite good effects on several 
properties in the Malang district of Java. 

There is no reason why the Northway system, in con- 
junction with the principle of the exterior latex channel, 
both modified to fit the varying local conditions, should 
not be applied with marked success throughout the 
rubber districts of the Amazon Valley. In any event 
the experiment is worth a trial, for it offers a better 
prospect of a solution of the present difficulties than 
any practical suggestion hitherto put forward to 
counteract the crisis precipitated by the rapid fall in 
the value of the raw material. The exterior latex 
troughs can be affixed to the trees at a trifling cost of 
money and labour if made of tin or zinc and supplied 
in quantities sufficient to meet the requirements of the 
industry ; no excision of bark is necessary, as was the 
practice in Ceylon, for the exterior channel takes the 
place of the one formerly cut in the stem of the tree ; 
the injury to the bark surface consequent upon the long 
previous use of the machadinho will not prevent the free 
application of the pricker ; the collector will be able to 
tap more trees per day under this system than he does 
at present with an axe ; a minimum of damage will be 
done in the future to trees handled in this way ; and, 
finally, the yield per tree will be increased by a very 
appreciable amount, if the results obtained in Ceylon 
and Java are any criterion for drawing a rational 
deduction in regard to the application of this method 
to both forest-grown and planted trees in the Amazon 
Valley. The experiment of testing this system at 
different points in the rubber districts can be effected 
without any heavy expenditure, for all that is necessary 



TAPPING 71 

is strict observance of definite instructions in regard to 
the use of the pricker, and accurate returns of the 
labour employed and the yield obtained from the 
various classes of trees. The experiment may need 
the attention of one man with practical experience of 
the Northway method for a time, but a period of six 
months should be ample to prove the success or failure 
of the system so far as it applies to existing conditions 
in Brazil. 

The only really serious difficulties in the way of the 
widespread adoption of the extraction of the latex by 
means of pricking instead of cutting the cells with the 
machadinho or gouge are the thickness and irregularity 
in the bark of forest-grown trees, and in connection with 
the high density of the milk causing coagulation in the 
channels before reaching the receiving cups. There is 
small doubt that these obstacles can be overcome 
successfully by careful attention to, and intelligent 
appreciation of, the general circumstances, and to the 
local conditions in regard to common-sense modifica- 
tions in the construction of the pricker and the applica- 
tion of the latex troughs to the stems of the rubber-trees. 

The collection of rubber from castilloa trees is carried 
out on quite different principles from the custom estab- 
lished in connection with the Hevea, and it is conducted 
in the following manner: Gangs of men, varying in 
numbers from half a dozen to twenty or thirty, travel 
through the forests where the castilloa is known to be 
fairly abundant, and tap each group of trees as they are 
discovered. The trunks are slashed to a height of from 
6 to 8 feet from the base, and the latex allowed to 
flow into cavities hollowed out near the foot of the 



72 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

tree. This process of hacking the stem bark is con- 
tinued for some ten days, or until the milk ceases to 
run. Then the tree is felled, and the bark of the upper 
portion of the trunk and branches is subjected to a 
further slashing to open the remaining latex cells. 
After a lapse of some thirty hours the exudation of 
milk stops, the tree is abandoned, and the gang passes 
on to the next group, and so the process is repeated. 
The rubber is wound into balls, or the lumps are 
packed into bales of from 60 to 70 pounds weight, and 
from time to time these are conveyed to some convenient 
central locality to await the end of the tapping season, 
or for shipment as opportunity offers. Many of these 
caucho-gaihering gangs work under agreements to sell 
their harvest to the owners of the forest tracts where 
they carry on their operations; others are quite inde- 
pendent, and confine their enterprise to the national 
territories, and then dispose of the rubber to the nearest 
dealers. 

The destructive methods employed for the extraction 
of castilloa latex are only tolerated on account of the 
scanty yield obtained by other systems of tapping, and 
for the fact that the industry cannot be continued on a 
profitable basis unless a comparatively large quantity 
can be gathered, to enable these gangs of men to earn 
an adequate return for their labour. In view of the fact 
that nearly one-quarter of the total rubber exports of 
the Amazon Valley consist of cauclio, it is evident that 
the exhaustion of the sources of supply cannot be far 
distant, unless the low prices now prevailing for this 
product act as a restriction on the amount annually 
collected. 




INDIAN COOLIES TAPPING TREES IN THE 1THUC GARDENS AT I'ARA 



TAPPING 73 

In Ceylon the tree at Henaratgoda known as No. 2, 
and planted in 1876, has a circumference of 137 inches 
at 3 feet from the ground. It is considered one of 
the finest in the East, and it is interesting to com- 
pare this specimen with trees in Brazil. The girth of 
forest-grown rubber-trees varies to a marked degree in 
different localities of the Amazon Valley. For mature 
trees it ranges from 50 to 200 inches in circumference 
measured at a height of 3 feet from the base of the 
trunk. Occasional examples occur of the girth attain- 
ing such colossal dimensions as 300 inches. It is safe 
to consider the average girth of estrada trees in tapping 
as 100 inches or thereabouts, and the average height 
100 feet approximately. The age of the trees is extremely 
difficult to gauge with any degree of accuracy, owing to 
the absence of all reliable records in this direction. In 
the Madeira districts and elsewhere many trees are 
found that have been tapped for sixty years past, there- 
fore they are probably not less than eighty years old ; 
but the growth and development is so far influenced by 
surrounding conditions of locality, light, air, soil, and ex- 
posure, that size cannot be regarded as a criterion of age. 

So far as planted trees are concerned, the indications 
are that the growth in the Amazon Valley is distinctly 
less rapid than in Malaysia, or even in Ceylon, where 
the development is much slower than in the Federated 
Malay States, the Straits Settlements, Java, or Sumatra. 
Rubber-trees in the gardens of the Museo Goeldi at 
Para, carefully cared for during the last fifteen years, are 
no greater in girth or height than those of seven years 
old in many of the Malay plantations. In clearings 
where plants have been set out, they are in even a more 



74 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

backward condition, and after twenty years' growth are 
frequently under 30 inches in girth at 3 feet from the 
ground. Although slow development is due in part to 
neglect to keep them clean from the scrub and weeds 
choking all progress, it does not account for the marked 
disparity between the rate of growth in Brazil and the 
Orient, after making ample allowances for lack of 
cultivation in the former country. 

The bark renewal after tapping is exceptionally good 
in all districts of the Amazon Valley. Even when trees 
are hacked about unmercifully with the machadinho, the 
cortex makes the most vigorous effort to repair the 
damages inflicted by the many careless collectors. On 
trees of all ages tapped with the gouge in 1913, and 
subsequently attacked on the tapped surface by a most 
virulent form of cambium rot, the renewal of bark was 
extraordinary; moreover, it w r as equally strong in the 
case of forest trees shut out from the free access of air 
and light, and on those growing close to the river-banks 
and receiving a full allowance of sunshine. In the 
Orient, experience shows that deep shade is a deterrent 
to bark renewal, whereas in the Amazon Valley the 
evidence available proves that it produces no such 
effect ; in fact, the idea is deep-rooted in most districts 
that exposure to the direct rays of the sun causes the 
latex cells to become barren, and arrests the growth of 
new bark. It is extremely difficult to reconcile these 
absolutely reverse conditions of the same tree under 
atmospheric influences containing practically no differ- 
ence in the characteristic features of moisture, soil, and 
temperature, or to attribute them solely to variations 
resulting from the effects of regular cultivation. 



TAPPING 75 

No attempt is made by the collectors to keep the 
cups and latex cans in a cleanly state ; the former are 
never washed, and remain in the estradas covered with 
rust throughout the tapping season, while the latter are 
not even rinsed out after the latex is brought into the 
smoking-huts. Naturally, the dirt in cups and cans 
induces fermentation, and leads to the formation of a 
larger proportion of lump than would be the case if 
cleanliness was practised. The profitable character of 
the industry in past years made the rubber producers 
careless in regard to the details connected with the col- 
lection of the latex, and slovenly habits were permitted 
without check or hindrance ; hence the difficulty of 
changing established customs now that all possible 
economy is necessary to meet successfully the com- 
petition of Oriental production. A little care in con- 
nection with the utensils in use would make a reduction 
of not less than 5 per cent, in the proportion of low- 
priced sernamby (scrap), and add that amount to the 
output of fine rubber. The managers argue that to en- 
force rules of cleanliness would entail considerable delay 
for the collectors when making the rounds of the trees 
in the estradas, but they forget that the collector would 
benefit equally with the owner if adequate attention 
was given to this important matter. 

The conditions of life are replete with hardships for 
the seringueiro (collector) under existing circumstances, 
and his situation has undergone a marked change for the 
worse during the last two years. So long as rubber 
was in the neighbourhood of five shillings a pound the 
collector made good money in his position of modified 
partnership with the owner of a rubber-producing prop- 



76 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

erty. He prized his independence, and could afford 
his inclination to make holiday whenever he so desired ; 
moreover, his credit at the store was unlimited for all 
practical purposes. At present, with more days and 
longer hours of work, only one-half the money can be 
earned ; this payment is barely sufficient to defray the 
cost of subsistence during the tapping season, leaving 
nothing to provide against the necessities of the lean 
months when the collection of rubber is suspended. 
Formerly the seringueiro could obtain credit from the 
end of one working period to the beginning of the next ; 
but to-day the property/owner is unable to afford any 
such advances, and the slack months must be passed 
in a state of the utmost poverty, often bordering on a 
condition of semi-starvation. One of the attractions to 
the men employed in the rubber districts was the ability 
to indulge in extravagant purchases of any articles that 
took their fancy, whereas now, when in full work, their 
credit is frequently insufficient to meet the cost of the 
daily rations. In these circumstances it is no matter 
for surprise that a large proportion of the labourers are 
drifting back to their homes in Ceara or elsewhere 
whenever opportunity offers, rather than remain in the 
Amazon Valley to face the privations and vicissitudes 
inevitably to be expected in connection with the imme- 
diate future of the rubber industry. It is due to this 
state of affairs that the labour - supply is steadily 
diminishing, and it is a factor that threatens to bring 
most serious consequences to an already complicated 
situation. 



CHAPTER VII 
YIELD AND DENSITY OF LATEX 

Average yield varies in different districts Yield on the Madeira, 
Puriis, and Jurua Yield on the upper rivers and in Bolivia 
Experiments with gouge tapping Variation in quantity and 
quality of latex Tests for density on the Madeira and Puriis 
Further tests Records kept at Santa Maria, River Madeira- 
Records kept at Sevastopol, River Puriis Exaggerated reports of 
yields of trees. 



'"T^HE average yield of rubber- trees in the Amazon 
A Valley varies to a marked extent in different dis- 
tricts, and, in the absence of accurate statistics extend- 
ing over any lengthy period, the average quantity of 
latex and amount of dry rubber produced can only be 
calculated approximately for most sections of the 
country. In the case of the properties on the Rivers 
Madeira and Purus more detailed information is avail- 
able, as a result of a series of experiments and tests 
conducted under competent supervision in 1912 and 
1913, in order to ascertain the density, yield and pro- 
portion of rubber in comparison with returns obtained 
in Ceylon and elsewhere in the Orient. These experi- 
ments were prompted also by a desire to obtain definite 
knowledge as to the relative conditions of latex extracted 
by the use of the machadinho compared to that procured 
by gouge tapping on the herring-bone system, and for 
this purpose tests were carried out on both forest - 
grown and planted trees in districts with many different 

77 



78 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

characteristics of soil, elevation above water-level, 
exposure, and general surroundings. 

Throughout the rubber districts of the Lower 
Amazon and those in the vicinity of the waterways 
discharging into the delta, the average yield per tree is 
less than in the other two sections of the Amazon 
Valley, and a very rough estimate of the number of 
labourers in comparison with the total output places 
the weight of dry rubber per tree at slightly under 
3 pounds. This is a very small return from fully 
matured trees; but a great proportion of the trees in 
these districts have been in tapping for half a century 
past, and have been so seriously damaged by the care- 
less use of the machadinho that the latex cells cannot 
respond freely to the demands made upon them. In 
the neighbourhood of the delta the conditions are 
worse than on the upper reaches of the Rivers Tapajoz, 
Xingu, and other tributaries ; while the yield in 
these latter districts probably exceeds the average of 
3 pounds per tree, the return on the islands and lower 
sections of these rivers falls considerably short of that 
figure. 

In the districts of the Madeira, the lower portions of the 
Purus and Jurua, and the tributaries of these rivers, the 
annual yield is higher than in the territories mentioned 
in the last paragraph ; and on the same basis of calcula- 
tion the average return works out approximately at 
5 pounds per tree. Local report places the amount 
at a much higher figure, but is coloured by the quantity 
obtained from individual free-milking trees scattered 
through the estradas. The check on exaggerated state- 
ments is to take the total output and compare it with 



YIELD AND DENSITY OF LATEX 79 

the number of collectors employed and the average 
number of trees allotted to each collector. The ship- 
ments from these districts in the season 1912-13 
amounted to 21,000,000 pounds, and to obtain this crop 
27,000 tappers were necessary, each working an estrada 
containing on an average about 150 trees, for a period 
of 1 60 days extending over seven months, from June to 
January. Investigations conducted on about 100 prop- 
erties revealed the fact that the monthly deliveries of 
rubber from each collector averaged no to 112 pounds, 
or 770 pounds, slightly more or less, during the season ; 
this equals a total output of 20,790,000 pounds from 
some 4,050,000 trees, or an average yield of 5*13 pounds 
per tree. 

In the third section of the Amazon Valley, comprising 
the rubber-producing districts of Bolivia, the Acre terri- 
tories, the Upper Purus and Jurua, the Jutahy, Javary, 
and other rivers, a higher average yield is obtained. 
This is due to the fact that the majority of the trees 
have been worked for a comparatively short period, and 
also because a large number of virgin trees are brought 
into tapping annually. In Bolivia the output for the 
season 1912-13 was 6,700,000 pounds, and this quantity 
was produced by 7,500 collectors from 1,100,000 trees, 
equivalent to a return of a little less than 6 pounds 
per tree. In the other districts enumerated the aggre- 
gate crop was 25,900,000 pounds, gathered by 26,000 
collectors from 3,770,000 trees, an average of 6'8 pounds 
per tree. In these calculations all reference to caucho 
(castilloa) is omitted, no data of any kind being avail- 
able at present for working out the average per tree, on 
account of the methods employed for the collection of 



8o THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

this class of rubber. Moreover, the number of men 
comprised in the gangs formed to exploit the caucho 
industry varies greatly from month to month, and this 
adds to the difficulty of drawing up any statistics of a 
reliable character. 

Experiments tried in 1913 with the gouge, working 
on the herring-bone system for both forest-grown and 
planted trees, showed that for the first three or four 
weeks the average yield of latex per tree was double 
that obtained with the machadinho, but the collector 
tapped only one-half the number of trees daily. Doubt- 
less this drawback would have been remedied to some 
extent as the tappers became more expert ; but an out- 
break of cambium disease occurred soon after the 
experiments were commenced, and it was of such a 
virulent nature that the work was abandoned. Another 
objection to excision methods was that after the first 
month the quality of the latex weakened even when the 
trees were free from disease, and the conclusion reached 
was that the additional milk extracted overtaxed the 
general functions of the trees. These experiments were 
carried out over a period of six months in the Madeira 
and Purus districts to test thoroughly the possibility of 
increasing the average yield by the introduction of 
gouge tapping ; they were only relinquished in view of 
the combined effects of cambium disease and the lower 
quality of latex obtained. The trials were made at 
some seventy different properties on the Madeira and 
Purus, and they may be accepted, therefore, as conclusive 
proof that any system of bark excision is unsuitable for 
rubber-trees in the Amazon Valley owing to unexplained 
atmospheric influences. 



YIELD AND DENSITY OF LATEX 



81 



The quality and quantity of the latex varies con- 
siderably during the tapping season. From the middle 
of June to the end of July the density is high and the 
yield abundant; in August and September there is a 
marked diminution in quantity, and this is attributed 
locally to the fact that in these two months the trees 
are wintering, and the rainfall is much less than at any 
other time of the year ; in October the quality falls off, 
owing to the trees flowering during this month. To- 
wards the end of the tapping season the density is 
lower than in June and July, showing that the trees 
feel the effects of the daily extraction of latex. It is 
interesting to note these facts, as they differ widely from 
the conditions prevailing in Ceylon and the Malay 
Peninsula. 

A few of the tests made in 1913 demonstrate clearly 
the average density of the latex obtained from trees 
in the districts adjoining the Rivers Madeira and 
Purus. They also permit some comparison in the 
quality incidental to the use of the machadinho and the 
gouge. On the Madeira the tests were made during 
the first fortnight in September, and the results 
were 



No. 


Name of Property. 


District. 


No.ofC.C. 
taken for 
Test. 


Tapping Tool 
used. 


No.ofC.C. 
to i Pound 
of Dry 
Rubber. 


I. 


Santa Catharina 


Madeira 


1,000 


Machadinho 


1,000 


2. 


Santa Maria ... 





1,000 


Gouge 


M43 


3- 


Recreio 


M 


950 


n 


i,435 


4- 


Mirary 


M 


225 


> 


1,200 



82 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

The latex tested was obtained from trees in regular 
tapping since the beginning of the season ; Nos. i, 2 
and 4 from forest-grown trees, and No. 3 from a twelve- 
year-old plantation. 

Another test made was on forest-grown trees in the 
vicinity of Abuna, on the Madeira-Marmore Railway, 
where some experiments in gouge tapping on the 
herring-bone system had been tried in the previous 
July. Two sets of trees were tapped for fifteen days, 
one with the machadinho and the other by the gouge, 
using the half herring-bone system with two and three 
cuts, according to the general condition of bark surface 
and trees. For this work it was necessary to pay 
wages to each man at the rate of thirteen shillings and 
fourpence per diem, and it will be seen that such pay- 
ments entail a severe loss on every pound of rubber 
harvested. The experiment was commenced on Sep- 
tember 29, and concluded on October 15 ; it furnishes 
interesting data regarding the relative results obtained 
by the gouge and the machadinho. On the gouge- 
tapped trees indications of cambium disease appeared 
towards the end of the experiment, and thus confirmed 
the deduction previously reached, to the effect that 
any excision system of extracting latex was inappli- 
cable in the Amazon Valley, for the reason that the 
increased yield did not compensate for the danger from 
cambium rot and the additional labour force required. 
The subjoined daily record of the results of this experi- 
ment is self-explanatory. An allowance of 20 per 
cent, for waste should be made to ascertain the dry 
weight of the lump and scrap ? in calculating the aggre- 
gate amount of marketable rubber : 



YIELD AND DENSITY OF LATEX 



MACHADINHO TAPPING 



Date, 1913. 


*- ! - H ^' 


k 


It 

& 


Bt 


1 


ll 


tt 




* j JJ 


& 


is 

J 


II- 


S 


S Q 


% 


Sept. 29 ... 


210 | 4,000 


2,650 


550 





3,200 





,750 


,, 30 .. 


235 2,500 


1.750 


925 


150 


2,825 


6,025 


,100 


Oct. i ... 


235 4, I2 5 


3,2OO 


400 




3,600 


9,625 i ,950 


2 ... 


235 


5.250 


4,!5o 


45 


200 


4,800:14,425! ,500 


3 . 


235 


6,500 


4,800 


550 





5,350:19,775 


,900 


6 ... 


too 


3,ooo 


2,100 


IOO 


400 


2,600:22,375 


,250 


7 ... 


235 


4,500 


3,050 


600 




3,650^6,025 


,800 


8 ... 


235 


450o 


3,400 


150 


2OO 


3.750 129,775 


,950 


9 - 


235 


5,250 


4,100 





350 


4,450 


34,225 


2,370 


10 ... 


235 


5,625 


4.225 


125 


300 


4.650 


38,875 


2,500 


ii ... 


235 


5,750 


4,350 




250 


4,600 


43,475 


2,550 


13 ... 


235 


6,375 


4,700 





350 


5.050 


48,525 


2,800 


14 ... 


235 


6,125 


4,350 





200 


4,550 


53,075 


2.570 


15 ... 


235 


5,250 


3,850 





4 00 


4.250 


57,325 1 2,250 


Total ... 


3,190 (68,750 


50,675 


3,850 


2,6OO 


57,325 





30,240 



GOUGE TAPPING 



! Sept. 29 ... 


57 


2,500 


1,450 


600 


400 


2,450 





750 


30 ... 


57 


1.750 


1,150 


600 


150 


1,900 


4,350 


650 


jOct. i ... 


57 


2,125 


1,600 


400 


300 


2,300 


6,650 


850 


2 ... 


57 


2.750 


1,900 


400 


2OO 


2,500 


9,i5o 


1,020 


3 ... 


57 


2,250 


1,750 


300 


175 


2,225 


n,375 


870 


4 -. 


57 


2,500 


1, 800 


250 


200 


2,250 


13.625 


920 


5 ... 


57 


2,125 


!,55o 


250 


160 


1,960 


15,585 


800 


6 ... 


57 


2,000 


1,360 


300 


150 


1,810 


1 7,395 


670 


7 ... 


57 


2,500 


1,700 


300 


IOO 


2,100 


J 9,495 


820 


8 ... 


57 


2,375 


1,400 


600 


250 


2,250 


21,745 


700 


9 - 


57 


2,250 


i,45o 


250 


200 


1,900 


23,645 


720 


10 ... 


57 


2,250 


1,500 


400 


200 


2, IOO 


25,745 


720 


ii ... 


57 


2,375 


i, 600 


150 


150 


1,900 


27,645 


800 


13 ... 


57 


2,250 


1,250 


400 


300 


J .95 


29-595 


600 


Total ... 


798 


32,000 


21,460 


5,200 


2,935 


29,595 





10,890 



From this record it will be seen that the total amount 
of dry rubber, including lump and scrap after deduct- 
ing 20 per cent, for loss of weight in drying, was 77*52 



8 4 



THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 



pounds from 3,190 tappings with the machadinho on 

235 trees; and 38*27 pounds from 798 tappings with 
the gouge on 57 trees. This gives 2i'8 c.c. and 40*1 c.c. 
per tree respectively for machadinho and gouge. Briefly 
summed up, the result of the experiment was 



Tool used. 


No. of 
Trees 
tapped. 


No. of 
Tappings. 


Total 
Yield of 
Latex. 


Quantity 
of Latex 
per Tree 
per 
Diem. 


Total Dry 
Rubber, 
including 
Lump and 
Scrap. 


No. of 
C.C. to 
i Pound 
of Dry 
Rubber. 








C.C. 


C.C. 


Pounds. 




Machadinho 


235 


3.190 


68,750 


21-8 


77-52 


886 


Gouge 


57 


798 


32,000 


40-1 


38-27 


836 



Based on these calculations, the yield per tree with 
machadinho tapping on 180 days in the year would be 
4*4 pounds, and for a similar period with the gouge 
the return would be 8 '6 pounds ; of these totals, the 
amount of lump and scrap with the machadinho would 
be 14^ per cent., while w r ith the gouge the quantity 
would be equal to 37} per cent. 

On the Lower Purus experimental tests carried out 
from September 27 to October 7, 1913, to ascertain 
the density of the latex extracted by means of the 
machadinho and gouge respectively on forest-grown 
trees, gave the following results : 



Locality. 


Tool used. 


Quantity 
tested. 


Dry Rubber 
obtained. 


No. of C.C. to 

i Pound of 
Dry Rubber. 






C.C. 


Ounces. 




Aliang?. 


Machadinho 


l.OOO 


I5-33 


1.043 




Gouge 


I,OOO 


16 


I.OOO 


Axioma 


Machadinho 


500 


7'5o 


1, 066 





Gouge 


500 j 7-66 


1,044 



YIELD AND DENSITY OF LATEX 



At Alian^a, in order to make the list as thorough 
as possible, various methods of tapping were employed ; 
these are shown in the annexed table : 





Hours of 
Tapping. 


No. of 
Trees 
tapped. 


Tool 
used. 


Daily or 
Otherwise. 


Method employed. 


I. 


6 a.m. to 


10 


Macha- 


Daily 


Four to six cuts, accord- 




9a.m. 




dinho 




ing to girth 


2. 


99 


10 


|| 


Alternate 


Four to six cuts, accord- 


3- 


91 


10 


Gouge 


days 
Daily 


ing to girth 
Double herring - bone 












with four cuts 


4- 


)| 


10 


> 


> 


Single herring - bone 












with two cuts 


5- 


j) 


10 


ij 


> 


Double and single her- 












ring-bone on a quarter 












circumference of tree 


6. 


II 


10 


91 


ii 


Broad V cuts 


7- 


10 


jj 


9 9 


Small V cuts 


8. 


II 


IO 


If 


Alternate 


Single herring - bone 










days 


with two cuts 



A further test taken at the Sevastopol estate, on the 
River Punas, extended over a period of eight days, on 
forty trees tapped by the gouge with half herring-bone 
and two cuts. For the last six days of this experiment 
the results were 



Date, 
1913- 


Latex. 


Wet 

Rubber. 


Dry 

Rubber. 


Lump. 


Scrap . 


Aggregate 
Dry Lump 
and Scrap. 


Remarks. 


Oct. 13 

14 

*5 

, 16 
> 17 
, 18 


c.c. 

250 
359 
483 
616 
650 
583 


Gnus. 
1 80 
260 
3 6o 
400 
460 
350 


Grms. 
108 
156 
216 
2 4 
2 7 6 
210 


Grras. 
IOO 
90 

85 
120 

135 

IOO 


Grms. 
30 
7 
50 
60 

47 
40 


Grms. 
I0 4 
128 

108 

144 

145 
112 


Forty per cent, 
deducted from 
wet rubber and 
20 per cent, from 
lump and scrap 
for waste in dry- 


Total 


2,941 


2,010 


1 ,206 


630 


297 


74 1 


ing 



86 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

These figures are equal to a total yield of 70*2 ounces 
of dry rubber, or an average of 1*75 ounces for each of 
the forty trees tapped during the six days' trial. The 
density of 670 c.c. to i pound of dry rubber is extra- 
ordinarily high, and it compares with an average of 
1,341 c.c. at the Ceylon Government Gardens of 
Henaratgoda, according to official returns published 
in May, 1913. 

In all the foregoing experiments coagulation of the 
latex was obtained by the use of a solution of acetic acid, 
preference being given to this method in order to enable 
the rubber to be dried without the long delay necessary 
when the coagulation is effected by smoke. 

The records kept by Mr. da Costa at the Santa 
Maria estate, in the Madeira district, furnish some 
useful information concerning density and yield of 
latex, and they may be accepted as an accurate basis 
on which to calculate returns for that section of the 
Amazon Valley. On this property the quantity of 
latex extracted in the month of June, 1913, from gouge 
tapping with the double and single herring-bone system, 
was 329,000 c.c. ; this latex was coagulated by the 
smoking process, and yielded 528 pounds of wet rubber, 
equal to 291 pounds when dried, not including any 
lump or scrap. This gives a density of 1,038 c.c. to 
i pound of dry rubber. On the same property one 
collector obtained a daily average of 4,000 c.c. from 
170 trees, tapping with the gouge on the single-V 
system during the first three months of the season, an 
equivalent of 23*5 c.c. per tree per day; this should 
give 3*3 pounds of first-quality rubber per tree during 
a tapping season of 150 days, and in addition about 



YIELD AND DENSITY OF LATEX 



87 



ri pounds of lump and scrap, making a total of 4*4 
pounds of dry rubber in six months of twenty-five 
working days each. At the near-by estate of Lembranga 
two men tapping 300 trees obtained a daily average of 
latex of 6,000 c.c. each; this yield, on the basis of 150 
working days in the season, is equal to 578 pounds of 
dry fine rubber, and 1*73 pounds of lump and scrap, 
an aggregate of 7*51 pounds of dry rubber per tree per 
annum. These trees were tapped on the single- V plan 
with the gouge. 

The following details, extracted from the records 
kept at Santa Maria, are instructive and interesting in 
regard to density and yield with both gouge and 
machadinho tapping; they may be relied upon as 
approximately correct, and are fairly representative of 
the average conditions, in this section of territory, of 
old-established properties regularly worked for the last 
quarter of a century : 



Estrada. 


Days. 


Trees. 


System. 


Total Litres. 


Average C.C. 
per Tree. 


NO. I2J 


7 

7 


122 

180 


G.V. 
M. 


2I,OOO 
18,800 


24 
14 


J 


13 


130 


G.V. 


45.ooo 


27 


" 3 \ 


9 


210 


M. 


31,900 


17 


J 


13 


100 


G.V. 


61,900 


47 


" 4 l 


8 


180 


M. 


33,000 


23 




19 


176 


M. 


53.ooo 


16 


" 9 \ 


18 (July) 


200 


M. 


60,000 


16 


5 


19 


160 


G.H. 


75.200 


25 


8 


24 


no 


G. and J. 


80,400 


30 



Note. G.V. stands for gouge tapping with separate Vs. 

G.H. ,, ,, ,, ,, herring-bone system. 

M. ,, machadinho tapping. 
J. ,, jebong tapping. 

The average yield of the five sets of gouge tapping is 30 c.c. first 
latex per tree. 

The average yield of the five sets of machadinho tapping is 17 c.c. 
first latex per tree. 



88 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

Mr. da Costa states that after the first month he 
obtains only 25 per cent, dry rubber from the gouge 
tapping, against 40 per cent, from machadinho work. 
Therefore- 
Dry rubber from machadinho, 40 per cent, of $7, 6*8, 

plus 10 per cent, scrap = 7*48. 

Dry rubber from gouge, 25 per cent, of 30, 7*5, plus 
30 per cent, scrap = 975. 

No. 12 estrada mentioned above was tapped on 
sixteen days in July with the herring-bone system, 
and averaged 32^ c.c. per tree per day. 

No. 4 estrada was tapped altogether only for twenty 
days with the gouge, and this may account for the 
higher yield in comparison with the others. 

A fairly accurate idea of the uncertain position of 
the rubber collectors in the central section of the 
Amazon Valley may be gathered from the following 
figures, extracted from the books kept at the Sevastopol 
estate, on the Lower Purus: In 1912 the total pro- 
duction of a division comprising twenty-two estradas 
of 120 trees each was 3,406 kilogrammes, consisting 
of 2,887 kilogrammes of fine rubber and 519 kilo- 
grammes of lump and scrap (sernamby) ; this equals 
154*9 kilogrammes for each estrada, or 1,290 grammes 
per tree, equivalent to 2*84 pounds. The trees were 
tapped on alternate days with the machadinho, and 
eleven men were employed throughout the season at 
this work; therefore the average amount of rubber 
delivered by each man was 262*45 kilogrammes of fine 
rubber and 47*18 kilogrammes of scrap, equal to 577*45 
pounds and 93*81 pounds of fine rubber and scrap 
respectively. The collector is entitled to one-half of 



YIELD AND DENSITY OF LATEX 89 

this amount, less 10 per cent, for loss in weight and 
10 per cent, for expenses on fine, with no deduction on 
scrap, or 210*58 pounds of fine and 46*9 pounds of 
scrap. With the price in London at 33. per pound, 
the equivalent rate on the Lower Purus is 2s. per 
pound ; therefore the money value to the collector 
is 21 is. for the fine rubber, and 3 2s. 6d. for 
scrap, a total of 24 35. 6d. for seven months* work. 
Against this sum take the cost of the absolute neces- 
sities of life at the comparatively moderate prices 
charged on this estate. The monthly requirements for 

each man are 

s. d. 

Rice: 3 kilos at 2 s. yd = o 7 9 

Beans : 4 kilos at 2s. yd = o 10 4 

Coffee : i kilo at 25. xod. ... = o 2 10 

Sugar : 2 kilos at 2S. id. ... = o 4 3 

Dried meat : 4 kilos at 35. 2|d. ... = o 12 10 

Salt : 2 kilos at g^d = 017 

Soap : kilo at is. 6d. .. ... = o p 9 

Farinha : 20 litres at 8d = o 13 .4 

Kerosene: i litre at is. .. ... = o i o 

Lard: 2 kilos at 2S. 4d. .. ... = 048 

Tobacco: i kilo at 135. 4d ... = o 13 4 

Matches : 2 packets at 2s. 2d. ... = o 4 4 

Cigarette-papers: 2 packets at lod. = o i 8 

.3 19 6 

Living in the most frugal manner possible on the 
above scale, a collector will spend not less than 27 in 
the tapping season of seven months, receiving 24 for 
his work during that period. He remains with a debt 
of 3, and no credit to help him to tide over the five 
months of the year before he can resume his occupa- 
tion. In the circumstances the situation for many 
properties must be considered most precarious. 



go THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

Throughout all districts of the Amazon Valley ex- 
traordinary tales are told of the yield from indi- 
vidual trees, and often of whole estradas of such trees. 
There is no doubt that the proportion of very free 
milkers is comparatively large, especially on the prop- 
erties more recently opened for regular work in the 
national territories in the vicinity of the Acre, the 
upper portions of the Purus and Jurua, the Javary, and 
other waterways. There are many authenticated cases 
of individual trees yielding as much as 500 c.c. in one 
tapping, equal to half a pound of dry rubber, but no 
reliable data is extant to show for what period this 
rate of yield was maintained. In the districts of the 
upper rivers it is not an unusual occurrence for a 
collector to deliver 1,000 kilogrammes (2,200 pounds) 
of dry rubber in the tapping season, equal to 15 pounds 
per tree on an estrada of 150 trees; but this only 
happens in localities where virgin trees are fairly 
abundant. In many parts of the central section, 
covering the Madeira and the lower portions of the 
Purus and Jurua, the returns in a season from single 
estradas of 150 trees frequently amount to 1,200 pounds, 
and sometimes 1,500 pounds, of dry rubber ; but the 
average is lowered by the very much smaller deliveries 
on the older-established properties, as is demonstrated 
quite clearly by the tests made during 1913. When 
all the circumstances are given due consideration, it 
is evident that the future of the industry is dependent 
on the average returns, and not on any abnormal yield 
from exceptionally favoured estates. All the conditions 
will be altered for the worse if the price of rubber falls 
to a point which compels a cessation of work on the 
older properties. 



CHAPTER VIII 
CURING AND PREPARATION OF RUBBER 

Method of coagulation Latex not strained Disadvantages of 
present system Difficulty of introducing improved methods- 
Reasons against radical alterations Various modes of smoking 
latex Delivery of rubber by collectors Weighing of rubber 
Necessity of readjustment of terms of remuneration to collectors 
Transport of rubber to port of shipment Cost of transport by 
land and river Payment of freights Expenses at Manaos and 
Pard Ocean freight rates Grading of rubber at Mangos and 
Para Classification of crop for season 1912-13 Origin of crop 
for season 1912-13 Estimated output for season July i, 1913, to 
June 30, 1914. 

IN the East a tapper finishes his daily task when he 
makes delivery of the latex at the factory ; in Brazil 
the seringueiro not only taps his trees and collects the 
yield, but must also coagulate the latex before his 
work for the day is done. In place of the up-to-date 
establishment, maintained in scrupulously clean con- 
dition, common to Oriental plantations, all the appli- 
ances used in Brazil for the preparation of rubber are 
of the most primitive description. A thatched hut with 
mud floor serves as the coagulating shed ; a hole in the 
centre of this floor surmounted by a battered cone- 
shaped tin funnel constitutes the smoking apparatus. 
A dirty basin receives the latex, and a tin cup or shell 
of a gourd is utilized as a ladle to pour it little by little 
over the stick or paddle as the coagulation proceeds. A 



92 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

fire of Urucury nuts creates a dense smoke containing 
a large percentage of carbonic acid gas, and this, passing 
through the tin funnel, reaches the paddle or stick 
turned slowly by hand, and constantly basted with coat- 
ings of latex from the receiving basin. This process 
continues until the balls of rubber accumulate to the 
required size, and it is then begun afresh. If balls 
(pelles) are to be made a stick is used; for knapsack 
the paddle is employed. Lump and scrap are thrown 
down on the mud floor in the corner of the hut without 
the slightest attempt to prevent the admixture of dirt 
or a rapid putrefaction. 

Amidst these squalid surroundings, and in an atmo- 
sphere dense with smoke and impregnated with carbonic 
acid gas, the collector passes two to three hours every 
afternoon. It is often sundown before the day's yield 
of latex is coagulated, and this means that the man has 
been at work since 4 a.m., with the exception of the 
noontide rest of some two hours or so. In a climate 
such as that prevailing in the Amazon Valley, the tax on 
health and strength from these conditions is unusually 
severe, and it is no matter for wonder that the number 
of men constantly incapacitated for work is abnormally 
high. 

No effort is made to clean the latex by straining 
before coagulation, and this accounts for a large pro- 
portion of the impurities so frequently apparent in the 
rubber. The statements sometimes put forward, that 
foreign substances are mixed deliberately with the latex 
during the process of smoking, have very slight founda- 
tion in fact ; when they are found in the finished prod- 
uct, they are due as a rule to excessive carelessness 



CURING AND PREPARATION OF RUBBER 93 

and absolute neglect of every principle of cleanliness 
while the preparation of the latex is taking place. 

The disadvantages of the present system of manu- 
facture are obvious. Any undue proportion of impuri- 
ties reduces the selling value of the rubber, and 
frequently it results in the classification in a lower 
grade than should be the case after arrival at Manaos 
or Para. Under existing conditions the pelles and 
knapsacks contain an abnormally high percentage of 
moisture ; they lose from 10 to 15 per cent, in weight 
from the time of shipment at the estate to the date 
when they are reweighed in Manaos or Para before 
the sale is effected. A further loss of importance 
occurs between the time of embarkation at Manaos or 
Para and disposal to manufacturers in Europe or the 
United States. These losses of weight represent extra 
freight charges ; therefore the matter calls for most 
serious consideration in view of the present crisis in the 
rubber industry, and the fact that every fraction of a 
penny per pound is of the utmost importance. 

In spite of the crude methods of the existing system 
of preparing the latex, and the many disadvantages it 
entails, there are several very strong points favourable 
to it in connection with prevailing conditions in the 
Amazon Valley. In the first place, the coagulation of 
the latex in central factories means additional labour 
and incidental expense on account of the wide distances 
separating the estradas, and the consequent length of 
time required to convey the daily yield to any central 
point ; then the question of the quality of the latex 
delivered by individual collectors would crop up, and 
cause constant friction between the manager and the 



94 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

seringueiro, so long as the present practice of working on 
the share system is continued, and to pay daily wages 
would increase the cost of production to a marked degree. 
It is doubtful if a higher price for a cleaner rubber would 
compensate for the expenditure necessary for the con- 
struction, equipment, and maintenance, of a modern 
factory, apart from the difficulty of competent supervision 
to insure any satisfactory results. Moreover, it would 
entail the complete reorganization of the labour system. 
There is another and very important reason why the 
present method of coagulation should not be abandoned 
without the most careful consideration of the possible 
effects on the quality of the rubber. When the latex is 
coagulated by the smoking process on paddle or stick, 
the rubber produced is not subjected to any form of 
pressure, or to the unavoidable maceration entailed by 
the use of the creping machinery common to factories 
on Eastern plantations ; therefore no injury can be in- 
flicted upon the product by the Brazilian methods as 
generally practised at the present time. The conse- 
quences to Eastern rubber produced by the severe 
treatment accorded to it in the great majority of planta- 
tion factories have never been clearly demonstrated, and 
it may be that the higher standard of elasticity and 
length of life so often claimed for the Brazilian product 
may be due in some measure to the absence of all 
crushing or tearing during the preparation of the latex. 
In any case, the most careful laboratory investigation in 
general, and special tests in particular, should be made 
before a marked alteration is attempted in regard to the 
substitution of any new system in place of the methods 
now employed. 



CURING AND PREPARATION OF RUBBER 95 

Various experiments have been tried for the purpose 
of finding a more convenient means of fumigating the 
latex without the necessity of using either paddle or 
stick, and at the same time maintaining the principle 
exercised in the use of those implements. The nearest 
approach to success in this direction has been the in- 
vention of a tin cylinder revolving over the smoke 
funnel. This drum is turned slowly by hand, and the 
latex poured on to it in the same manner as with the 
paddle or stick. When a thickness of about half an 
inch has been attained, the sheet is taken off the cylinder 
and the process repeated. The advantages of this 
system are that the rubber dries easily, should show a 
saving in freight charges on account of the lower per- 
centage of moisture than in pelles or knapsacks, and can 
be packed for shipment without difficulty. This method, 
however, has not been adopted to any great extent, in 
consequence of the opposition of agents and brokers at 
Manaos and Para, who have refused persistently to give 
any higher price for it than for pelles or knapsacks con- 
taining at least 10 per cent., and often 15 per cent., 
greater percentage of moisture. A large proportion of 
the owners of rubber-producing properties are so deeply 
indebted to their agents that they are powerless to re- 
sent their attitude in this matter, and this explains 
why no systematic effort has been made to bring the 
cylinder into more general use in order to manufacture 
sheet in place of ball rubber. In 1913 some small 
consignments of sheet rubber made by this process, 
and shipped to Manaos by the Madeira- Marmore Rail- 
way Company, were sold at the price then ruling for 
fine rubber ; but in no case was a higher rate paid 



96 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

than that quoted for the first quality of pelles or knap- 
sacks. 

Simple and inexpensive improvements in connection 
with the cylinder system can be made without difficulty 
if the process should come into popular favour. A 
receiver fitted with a conducting channel can be 
adapted to distribute the latex automatically and evenly 
over the drum in order to replace the hand dipping ; a 
slight alteration in the form of the cone-shaped funnel 
would allow the smoke to penetrate directly to every 
part of the revolving cylinder, instead of rising in a 
dense column and being dissipated throughout the hut ; 
moreover, a flue could be adjusted above the cylinder 
so as to permit the escape of the smoke after passing 
over the latex, and thus relieve the collector from the 
injurious effects of the daily immersion in an atmo- 
sphere saturated with carbonic acid gas. 

The general rule is for collectors to make delivery of 
* the rubber once a fortnight on the properties located 
near the river-banks, but how often it is received is left 
to the decision of the manager. The longer the rubber 
is kept by the collector, the greater the loss in weight ; 
this consideration is a factor seldom ignored, and occa- 
sionally the seringueiro insists on a weekly weighing. 
In the districts of the upper rivers, where the estradas 
are often two or three days' journey from the head- 
quarters of the estate, the delivery is delayed frequently 
by difficulties of transport, especially during the period 
of low-water in the rivers, and the rubber is brought in 
only twice or thrice during the tapping season. 

The weighing of the rubber takes place at the estate 
store. Each collector receives a note of the amount he 




A RUBBER PROPERTY, MATTO 




SMOKING LATEX, KIVEK MADEIRA 



CURING AND PREPARATION OF RUBBER 97 

delivers, less a deduction for waste pending shipment. 
This deduction varies in different districts and accord- 
ing to the period of the tapping season, the average 
allowance being 10 per cent, for the first four months, 
and 15 per cent, during the last three. Of the total 
quantity, one-half is credited to the collector at the 
market value in Manaos or Para, less a further deduction 
of 10 per cent, to cover cost of freight commissions and 
incidental expenses up to date of sale. Practically the 
outcome is that the collector receives one-half of the 
total amount less a deduction of 25 per cent. 

It is abundantly evident from the facts given in con- 
nection with tapping, the yield of rubber-trees, and the 
cost of living, that the question of the remuneration of 
labour on the rubber-producing properties needs a 
thorough readjustment. If the relationship between 
owners and collectors is to continue on the co-partner- 
ship basis prevailing at present, the percentage to the 
latter must be increased to a substantial extent, and 
the deductions for loss in weight and expenses sensibly 
diminished. In view of the rapid rise in Eastern pro- 
duction, it is necessary to look for lower prices than 
have been reached hitherto, and for this reason all 
calculations should be made at a value not exceeding 
two shillings and sixpence per pound for fine hard Para 
rubber. To enable the seringueiro to earn a living wage, 
his share must be increased to at least 75 per cent, of 
the total amount he delivers, and any deductions made 
should be for actual, not possible, loss of weight and 
general charges. Unless most drastic innovations in 
this direction are introduced in the immediate future, 
the rubber industry in the Amazon Valley will dwindle 
7 



98 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

away to vanishing-point for the lack of labourers to 
keep it alive. 

After the rubber is weighed, it is shipped to Manaos 
or Pard with as little delay as possible. The matter of 
transport presents no difficulty so far as the Lower 
Amazon and its affluents are concerned, or in connec- 
tion with the districts of the Madeira and those of the 
lower portions of the Purus and Jurua. Bolivia has an 
outlet always open by way of the railway to San Antonio 
or Porto Velho, on the Madeira. Throughout all these 
districts a regular service of steamers belonging to the 
Amazon Steam Navigation Company, and also many 
vessels privately owned, provide ample space for all 
cargo requirements. The conditions in the Acre terri- 
tory and the upper rivers are more complicated, for 
there navigation is interrupted for six months in the 
year by the insufficiency of water to permit the passage 
of steamers through the numerous cataracts. 

The cost of transport is a constant source of com- 
plaint, and the charges undoubtedly are extremely high. 
This is due in great part to the heavy expenditure for 
wages, the dearness of fuel, and to the Federal Govern- 
ment regulations in regard to the crew to be carried on 
coasting and river craft. The rates vary according to 
the distance, but an average cost struck for the whole 
Amazon Valley brings out the charge for transport by 
water at about one halfpenny for each pound of rubber 
in a crop of 40,000 tons. 

On many properties where the estradas are far distant 
from the central homestead, a further expenditure is 
incurred for transport of the rubber to the point of 
shipment. In some districts creeks are available for 



CURING AND PREPARATION OF RUBBER 99 

the use of steam-launches, flat-bottomed boats, and 
canoes, for this purpose ; in connection with a large pro- 
portion of estates water carriage is impossible, especi- 
ally during the dry season, from July to October, and 
the employment of pack animals is necessary. In these 
circumstances the cost of transport becomes a heavy 
item, for the traffic must be taken over the rough jungle 
tracks doing duty for roads, and nowhere is resort to 
wheeled vehicles a possibility. The value of mules for 
transportation work varies from 35 to 40 per head, 
and even at that high price the supply is limited ; 
moreover, the climate and grasses are not well suited 
to either mules or horses, and consequently the mor- 
tality is exceptionally heavy. These additional ex- 
penses add approximately another halfpenny per 
pound to the cost of the rubber, bringing the total 
average charge to one penny per pound for land and 
river transport to Manaos or Para. 

The cost of freight on inward cargo is at a higher 
rate, especially in regard to any description of fine 
goods, steamship owners relying on this source of 
income for earning profits. In the years of prosperity 
following the rubber boom of 1909, the question of 
freight rates attracted very little attention ; but with the 
fall in prices this factor has become one of the most 
serious problems in the situation, and it has resulted 
in scores of steamers being dismantled and laid up at 
Manaos and Para, on account of the diminution in the 
quantity of imported merchandise. 

Bolivian rubber is subjected to the abnormally high 
charges made by the Madeira- Marmore* Railway Com- 
pany, but in this connection a reduction in rates of at 



ioo THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

least 50 per cent, in the immediate future must result 
as a consequence of the present crisis. 

Owing to the scarcity of ready money throughout 
the rubber districts, freight charges are paid in Manaos 
or Para. For inward cargo the payments are made 
at the time of shipment by the commission agents 
(aviadores) forwarding goods to the different sections 
of the country, and the amount debited against the 
accounts of the various estates. In the case of down- 
river consignments, the value of the freight is collected 
by the shipping agent at the point of destination, before 
the rubber or other cargo is delivered to the consignee. 

In order to obtain freight, a common practice, especi- 
ally with privately-owned vessels, is for the master of a 
steamer to make cash advances up to 60 per cent, of the 
value of the rubber shipped, and to hold the consign- 
ment after arrival in port until the loan has been dis- 
charged. It is very seldom that any loss takes place in 
connection with these transactions, for the margin 
allowed is always ample to cover any fluctuation in the 
market price. 

On arrival at Manaos or Para an agent takes charge 
of the rubber, and defrays the necessary expenses in 
regard to dock dues, cartage, weighing, storage, and 
grading, and he arranges also for the sale. For these 
services a commission of 2\ per cent, is made on the 
price realized and on the amount of all disbursements 
incurred, these latter being deducted from the payments 
received. As soon as the rubber is sold, accounts are 
rendered to the owner or manager of the property 
whence the consignment originated, giving full details 
of the transaction. 

The exporter into whose hands the rubber passes 



CURING AND PREPARATION OF RUBBER ,101 

before shipment to Europe or the United States must 
pay the export duty, the municipal and other taxes, the 
port charges, consular fees, cost of delivery at the quay, 
and the charges for boxes and packing in cases con- 
taining 350 pounds for the small and 700 pounds for 
the large size. 

Freight rates to Europe and the United States are 
by measurement of 40 cubic feet, at the rate of sixty-five 
shillings and sixty shillings from Manaos and Para 
respectively. This is equal to nearly double that 
amount per ton weight. 

A question asked frequently is why fine rubber from 
the Amazon Valley obtains a higher price than planta- 
tion in the European and American markets. Although 
the age of the trees undoubtedly exercises an influence, 
the great difference existing in favour of the Brazilian 
product is not due altogether to the quality of latex or 
to the method of preparation, as is supposed generally 
to be the case, but also to the systematic manner of 
careful grading employed to separate the fina, the 
entre fina, and fraca. This work is done in the ware- 
house at Manaos and Para by a totally uneducated class 
of men who often can neither read nor write ; but long 
experience has taught them to distinguish accurately 
the various grades of rubber passing through their 
hands, and when they have completed this work the 
classification of the raw material is practically without 
a flaw. It is no exaggeration to say that less than 
J per cent, of the total export from the Amazon Valley 
is of other quality than is specified in the shipping 
documents. In view of this fact manufacturers pay a 
higher price for the security of obtaining an even 
quality. Brazilian methods of grading may be cum- 



IO2 



THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 



bersome and costly, but the drawbacks to them are 
more than compensated for by the effective result. 
Should smoked sheet take the place of pelles or knap- 
sacks, it is an open question whether the present high 
standard of grading will be maintained. 

For the twelve months from July i, 1912, to June 30, 
1913, the crop of rubber in the Amazon Valley was 
31,731 tons, and to this must be joined the stock of 
1,500 tons, making a total of 33,231 tons available at 
Manaos and Para; in addition, the harvest of caucho 
(castilloa) was 10,131 tons, bringing the aggregate 
amount to 43,362 tons. The classification of this out- 
put was 

UPPER RIVERS 





Tons. 


Percentage to 
the Output. 


Fina 


15,771 


50 


Entre Fina and Fraca 
Sernamby (Scrap) 
Caucho (Castilloa) 



4,060 

3,200 

8,331 


13 

10 

2 7 * 




31.362 






LOWER RIVERS 



Fina 


I 2OO 


lot 


Fraca 


A BOO 


A.Q 


Sernamby (Scrap) 
Caucho (Castilloa) 


4,200 
1,800 


|M 

35 
15* 




12,000 





Total 


43362 






* Ball and scrap. 

f From the Araguaya and upper sections of the Tapajoz, 
Xingu, Tocantins, and Matto Grosso. 



CURIN 7 G AND PREPARATION OF RUBBER 103 

The percentages and quantities of the total output of 
the Amazon Valley for 1912-13 were 





Tons. 


Percentage. 




16,071 


39"! I 


Entre Fina and Fraca 
Sernamby 
Caucho (Castilloa) 


siSoo 
7,400 
10,131 


20-43 
17*06 

2336* 


Total 


43>362 






The distribution of this production for 1912-13 as to 
origin was 

UPPER RIVERS 



District. 


Rubber. 


Caucho 
(Castilloa). 


Total. 




Tons. 


Tons. 


Tons. 


i . Solimoes and Javary 


2,360 


298 


2,658 


2. Purus and Acre 


10,700 


3o49 


14,249 


3. Jurua 
4. Madeira, including 


4,224 


645 


4,869 


Matto Grosso and 






Bolivia 


4,198 


2,463 6,66 1 


5. Rio Negro ... 
6. Iquitos 


471 
1,078 


19 

i,357 


490 
2,435 




23>03I 


8,331 3i>36"2 



LOWER RIVERS 



Including the Tapajoz, 
Xingu, Tocantins, the 
Islands, etc 

Total 


1 

[ 

10,200 1,800 


12,000 


33,231 10,131 


43,362 



* Ball and scrap. 



104 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

The shipments of rubber from Manaos and Para 
during the season July i, 1912, to June 30, 1913, 
amounted to 41,862 tons. To this must be added the 
stock of 1,500 tons, making the total output for the 
season 43,362 tons. All the indications for the twelve 
months July i, 1913, to June 30, 1914, are to the effect 
that the output will equal if not exceed that of last 
year. Therefore the probable total for this season may 
be taken as not less than 43,000 tons. 

In spite of an equal quantity in 1913-14 as com- 
pared to last year, the total value will be quite 25 per 
cent, less than in 1912-13, in accordance with the lower 
prices ruling during the present season in Europe and 
the United States. 



CHAPTER IX 
COST OF PRODUCTION 

Export duties Total charges levied before shipment Actual 
average minimum cost of production per pound of rubber 
Average value per pound in January, 1914 Necessary measures 
for the Brazilian industry Production during past eighty-six 
years Rubber industry and general prosperity of Brazil Defesa 
de Boracha Why Government measures of relief are barren of 
results How the Federal Government can afford immediate 
relief. 

r I ^HE export duties and other charges levied on 
A rubber shipments from Brazil have been the sub- 
ject of much controversy during the last two years. 
The Federal Government has urged the State adminis- 
trations of Para, Amazonas, and Matto Grosso, to make 
an immediate and substantial reduction in the duties, 
and at one time even suggested a suspension of all 
these taxes for an indefinite period. The State 
Governments, however, argued that the suppression of 
these charges practically entailed a condition of bank- 
ruptcy, especially in the case of Para and Amazonas, 
where 80 per cent, of the public revenue is derived 
from this source. A counter-proposition put forward 
was that the Federal authorities should make good any 
loss of income resulting from an abatement in the toll 
on exports ; but this was rejected on the grounds that, 
if any such principle was applied for the relief of 
industrial enterprise in the Amazon Valley, a corre- 
sponding concession would be demanded by every 

105 



106 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

State in the Union. Finally Para and Matto Grosso 
agreed to an annual diminution of 10 per cent, in the 
existing charge of 20 per cent, until the tax was 
reduced to 10 per cent on the value of all shipments, 
the Federal Government on its part undertaking to 
apply similar terms for the rubber produced in the 
national territories of the Acre and elsewhere. Ama- 
zonas refused to join this compact, giving as a reason 
that the tax in force in that State was only 18 per cent, 
on the export value, and therefore the action taken by 
Para, Matto Grosso, and the Federal Government, 
effected nothing more than the establishment of equal 
conditions so far as the immediate future was con- 
cerned. The agreement in regard to the 10 per cent, 
reduction for Para, Matto Grosso, and the national 
territories, became operative on January i, 1914, but it 
is quite inadequate to meet the exigencies of the situa- 
tion created by the fall in the price of rubber. More- 
over, the Governor of Para has stated publicly that he 
favours the retention of the full 20 per cent, for 
financial reasons and continues to levy that rate. 

At present (January, 1914) the charges on a valua- 
tion of two shillings per pound of rubber, including 
the payment of duties at Manaos or Pard, the only 
shipping ports in the Amazon Valley, are as follows : 

MANAOS 



Designation, 


Description of 
Contribution. 


Amount. 


i. Export duty ad valorem 
2. Export duty ad valorem (additional 
for financial purposes) ... 
3. Port office (capatasia) 
4. Mangos Harbour dues 


State 

Federal 

i 


1 8 per cent. 

i 

9 reis per kilo 
3 



COST OF PRODUCTION 



107 



PARA 



: 

Designation. 


Description of 
Contribution. 


Amount. 


i. Export duty ad valorem 
2. Export duty ad valorem (additional 
for financial purposes) ... 
3. Export duty ad valorem (additional 
for service of Port of Para bonds) 
4. Municipal tax ad valorem 
5. Bourse tax ad valorem 
6. Port office (capatasia) 
7. Port of Pard harbour dues 


State 
>t 
Federal 

Federal 


1 8 per cent. 
2$ 

2 

I .. 

9 reis per kilo 
3 



FEDERAL TERRITORIES 



i. Export duty ad valorem 
2. Port office (capatasia) 

3. Harbour dues at Manaos or Para 


Federal 
ii 

ii 


18 per cent. 
9 reis per kilo, 
or $1.600 per 
case 
3 reis per kilo 



The value of rubber for the payment of duties is 
announced officially weekly, or more often if any violent 
fluctuations occur in the price. 

There is a very great difference in these charges. At 
Para the taxation is equal to 5*80 pence per pound of 
rubber; at Manaos 4*60 pence; and for rubber from 
the Federal Territories only 4*40 pence per pound is 
paid. Rubber from Matto Grosso is subject to the 
export duty of 18 per cent., the port office charges, dock 
dues, and the additional 2 per cent, tax if shipped from 
Para, but is exempt from the 2\ per cent, financial 
impost and from the municipal and bourse contributions. 
These charges compare with an export duty of 2j per 
cent, in the Federated Malay States ; a tax on the trees 
in bearing equivalent to 2j per cent, on production in 



108 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

the Straits Settlements ; and no direct contribution of 
any kind in Ceylon, Java, or Sumatra. 

The question of the cost of production in the Amazon 
Valley is a matter eliciting many differences of opinion 
in Brazil and abroad. Individual views are coloured 
by an imperfect general knowledge, and they reflect 
the expenditure incurred in particular districts rather 
than the average cost of gathering the total output, and 
the subsequent expenses up to date of sale in Europe 
or the United States. A careful investigation of all 
the principal factors in the situation demonstrates that 
the minimum average cost per pound of rubber sold is 
28*3 pence in Europe or America, and 207 pence 
previous to shipment, at Manaos or Para, before payment 
of export duties, ocean freight, and foreign commissions 
and charges. The details of this average cost are 
instructive and not uninteresting. They are 

1. Maintenance of Collector. For the crop season 
July i, 1912, to June, 30, 1913, the total production of 
rubber, exclusive of caucho (castilloa), was 32,000 tons, 
and the number of collectors employed 94,000, approxi- 
mately. This gives an average per seringueiro of 
750 pounds in round figures. It has been shown else- 
where that the minimum value of the necessaries of 
life, during the tapping season of seven months, for each 
collector is 27 i6s. 6d., equal to 107 pence per pound 
of rubber delivered, and to this must be added not less 
than 10 per cent, for clothing and other essential 
articles, bringing the total to 117 pence per pound. 

2. Transport to Manaos or Para. The cost of handling 
and conveyance by land and river to the port of ship- 
ment averages about one penny per pound. 



COST OF PRODUCTION 109 

3. Commissions and Expenses at Port of Shipment. 
These include a charge of 2\ per cent, for brokerage, 
carting, grading, and storage; at the lowest possible 
calculation they cannot be reduced below an average 
expenditure of i'8 pence per pound. 

4. Administration, including Labour Expenses apart 
from the Collectors. This item covers charges for salary 
of managers and assistants and wages of the labourers 
on daily or monthly pay, together with the maintenance 
of the staff. The average cost is not less than fourpence 
per pound of the annual output. 

5. Disbursements on Account of Charges for recruiting 
Labour ers t Interest on Loans, and Depreciation of Build- 
ings. Under this heading a reasonable allowance would 
be 10 per cent., equal to 2*4 pence on the present local 
price of rubber ; in most cases this amount is exceeded, 
and the average is probably slightly higher than the 
figure now given. 

6. Ocean Freight. The rates to Europe or the United 
States are sixty and sixty-five shillings per ton of 
40 cubic feet from Para and Manaos respectively ; this 
is equivalent to slightly less than three-quarters of a 
penny per pound weight of rubber. 

7. Export Duty and Other Charges previous to Ship- 
ment. Including the dock dues, the average amount of 
these charges on the total exportation is 4*9 pence 
per pound. 

8. Commissions and Expenses in Europe or the United 
States. At the present value of rubber the average 
aggregate of these charges for brokerage, handling, 
storage, and incidental expenses, is r8 pence per 
pound. 



no THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

These various items summarized per pound of rubber 
are 

Pence. 

1. Maintenance of collector 117 

2. Transport i'o 

3. Commissions and expenses at port of ship- 

ment i 8 

4. Administration 4-0 

5. Owner's disbursements 2-4 

6. Ocean freight 07 

7. Export duty and other expenses 4*9 

8. Foreign commissions and charges r8 

Total 28-3 

If the prices ruling in January, 1914, are applied to 
the total shipments of 33,231 tons of fine, soft, and 
scrap rubber for the season 1912-13, the average price of 
these three qualities combined is 31 pence per pound. 
A profit on the total output of 3 pence per pound is 
a very small margin to meet the competition of the 
Orient and the rapid expansion of production that 
must inevitably occur in connection with the increased 
acreage coming into bearing in the course of the next 
three years, and also on account of the greater yield 
from the trees as they grow older. In view of the 
present situation, it is probable that the production of 
the lower grades of Brazilian rubber will diminish to a 
marked extent; in such case the average amount for 
each collector would show an increase, and the average 
selling price would be enhanced in direct proportion to 
the shrinkage in the quantity of the inferior qualities. 

To put the rubber industry of the Amazon Valley on 
a safe and sound basis, three main objects must be 
achieved. The first is to discover means of augment- 



COST OF PRODUCTION 



in 



ing the yield per tree without additional labour; the 
second, a substantial reduction in the cost of main- 
tenance for the collector ; and the third is the suppres- 
sion of all, or a very substantial part of, the export 
duties and charges. Unless far-reaching and immediate 
action is taken to cope successfully with these three 
factors, production will decline rapidly, and in a very 
few years the situation will become practically hopeless. 
The very great importance of the rubber industry to 
the general prosperity of Brazil is best shown by the 
record of production for the past eighty-six years. 
From 1827 to 1893 the returns are for the period 
January i to December 31 ; from 1894 to date the 
figures are for the crop season July I to June 30. Since 
1827 the output has been 



Years. 


Tons. 


Years. 


Tons. 


1827 


31 


1870 


6,591 


1828 


5 1 


1880 


8.679 


1829 


9i 


1890 


16,394 


1830 


156 


1891 


17,790 


1840 


388 


1892 


18,609 


1850 


1.467 


1893 


19,430 


1860 


2,673 














Crop Seasons. 


Tons. 


Crop Seasons. 


Tons. 


1894-95 


19,470 


1905-06 


34,680 


1895-96 


20,975 


1906-07 


37,540 


1896-97 


22,320 


1907-08 


36,650 


1897-98 


22,260 


1908-09 


38,5" 


1898-99 


25,355 


1909-10 


39,494 


1899-1900 


28,695 


1910-11 


38,177 


igoo-OI 


27,650 


I9II-I2 44,296* 


1901-02 


29,971 


1912-13 43,23lf 


1902-03 


29,890 


1913-14 43,000 


1903-04 


32,590 


(estimated) 


1904-05 


33,090 







Stock, 3,391 tons inclusive. f Stock, 1,500 tons inclusive. 



112 



THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 



With the exception of produce from Bolivia, which 
is transit cargo, and passes through the Brazilian ports 
in bulk, all rubber is packed in boxes before shipment. 
Records kept at Para in 1912 show that the average 
weight of these cases in that year was 



RUBBER. 


CAUcfto (CASTILLOA). 


Origin. 


i Average Gross 
Description. Weight 
| per Case. 


Origin. 


Descrip- 
tion. 

' 


Average Gross 
Weight 
per Case. 


Para 
Acre 
Para 
Acre 


Fina and Entre Fina 

> 
Scrap 
. , 


Pounds. 

SSS^ 
418-0 
874-6 
556-6 


Para 
Acre 
Para 
Acre 


Ball 

Scrap 
> ) 


Pounds. 
748 
682 
864-6 
704 



The Federal Government is quite aware of the 
disastrous effect the ruin of the Amazon rubber industry 
would entail in connection with the general prosperity 
of Brazil, but in Rio de Janeiro generally the economic 
conditions of the Northern States are not appreciated 
or understood. The necessity of a journey of fifteen 
days' duration between the Federal capital and the 
city of Manaos creates a barrier effectually blocking 
any free intercourse between the two sections of the 
country ; furthermore, this lamentable ignorance of the 
true circumstances underlying the existing critical state 
of affairs in the rubber districts enables self-seeking 
politicians to distort the real facts of the case to suit 
their own purposes. The natural consequence of this 
isolation between north and south is a complete lack of 
sympathy on the part of the southern Brazilians with 
their northern compatriots. Perhaps no better illustra- 



COST OF PRODUCTION 113 

tion of this feeling can be found than in the fact that 
the price and market movements of rubber are ignored 
completely in the commercial sections of the Rio de 
Janeiro and other southern newspapers, and a similar 
policy is maintained in regard to coffee by the Press in 
the northern States. 

In January, 1912, a law was sanctioned by the 
Brazilian Congress for relieving the industrial situation 
in the Amazon Valley, and on April 17 of that year 
the measure was declared operative by the Executive 
authority. Under this legislation a sum of 520,000 
was provided by the National Treasury to meet the 
necessary disbursements for the establishment of various 
spheres of work in connection with the rubber industry, 
and an office designated the Superintendent da Def esa 
de Boracha was created to carry into effect the pro- 
visions of the Act. This organization was placed under 
the direction of Dr. Raymundo Pereira da Silva, a 
clever and energetic administrator, who immediately 
set afoot plans for the betterment of conditions in 
Para, Amazonas, and the National Territories. From 
the beginning, however, his efforts were crippled in 
many directions, not the least of his difficulties being 
the class of men available for service in the northern 
Spates. In Rio de Janeiro commercial business was 
flourishing and employment easy to obtain ; therefore 
the Amazon Valley presented no attractions to capable 
persons, in spite of the high salaries offered. In these 
circumstances it was not surprising that the results 
achieved by the various expeditions despatched for the 
purpose of opening experimental farms for the cultiva- 
tion of food products and the encouragement of agricul- 



ii4 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

tural enterprise generally were attended by complete 
failure, in spite of the lavish expenditure incurred. 

In great measure the law of January, 1912, proved 
abortive, on account of the lack of knowledge of the 
characteristic features of the Amazon territories. It 
provided for immigration for the purpose of creating 
agricultural settlements, although the prevailing con- 
ditions are such as to render the establishment of small 
isolated communities futile of any benefit to the settlers 
themselves or to anybody else. Provision was made 
for the betterment of the sanitary state of the popula- 
tion, without realizing the magnitude of a task of this 
nature. None of the methods embraced by the new 
law were of any practical value as remedies to counter- 
act the effects emanating from Oriental competition; 
therefore, after its application had been attempted for 
eighteen months, it was abandoned, and the department 
of the Defesa de Boracha suppressed. 

It is possible for the Federal Government to afford 
effective and immediate relief to the rubber industry 
by taking action in two directions : the first by an 
agreement with the States interested to suspend the 
export duties, and the second by temporarily rescinding 
all charges levied upon the necessities of life imported 
into the Amazon Valley. So far as the first suggestion 
is concerned, the equitable basis for any such arrange- 
ment is for the Federal and State revenues to bear the 
loss equally. This would entail an annual subsidy of 
an aggregate sum of 1,000,000, approximately, from 
the Federal Treasury to the States of Para, Amazonas, 
Matto Grosso, and the administration of the National 
Territories ; for the local Governments concerned, the 



COST OF PRODUCTION 115 

suppression of the export duties infers a drastic re- 
trenchment of all public expenditure, and a compromise 
with all creditors in regard to the partial suspension of 
interest payments on foreign and home indebtedness. 
If the Federal Administration offer to guarantee the 
principal of the internal claims and external loans, and 
one-half of the subsidy be devoted to the debt service, 
any hardship incidental to reduced cash payments 
could be mitigated to a very large extent. 

The suspension of duties on imported merchandise 
is entirely within the province of the Federal Govern- 
ment, and in no way affects the State revenues. A 
special Act of Congress may be necessary to allow this 
step to be taken without any infringement of the Con- 
stitutional Law of the Republic ; but no serious objec- 
tion could be raised to the passage of the measure in 
view of the existing situation, and it is unlikely that 
any strong opposition would be offered to such a pro- 
posal put forward by the Executive as an immediate 
and urgent necessity to save the rubber industry from 
partial ruin in the present, and possibly total extinction 
in the near future, at a loss of revenue to the Federal 
Exchequer of approximately 650,000 annually. 

The effect of the suspension of the export duties 
would benefit the rubber producers to the extent of 
fivepence per pound ; the suppression of the Customs 
charges on the necessities of life imported from abroad 
would diminish by not less than 25 per cent., the 
average cost of maintenance for the collector. Together 
these two items permit the substantial reduction of 
eightpence per pound in the average cost of production, 
bringing it down to twenty pence per pound. On this 



n6 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

basis the rubber industry of the Amazon Valley could 
make a strong fight against the competition of Eastern 
plantations, even allowing for a considerable fall in 
the value of the product below the present level of 
prices. 

The immediate relief afforded by the suppression of 
export and import duties is not sufficient to insure the 
future of the industry ; it is essential that methods of 
tapping should be introduced increasing the yield per 
tree without the employment of additional labourers. 
A Commission should be appointed to investigate 
thoroughly this vexed question, and also to carry out 
practical experiments until the desired end be attained. 
For the purposes of this Commission, the services of 
scientific experts would be necessary, but this entails 
no difficulty whatever at the present time ; in Dr. Willis, 
the Director of the Botanical Gardens at Rio de Janeiro, 
and formerly in charge of the Peradenyia station in 
Ceylon, and in Dr. Jacques Huber, the head of the 
Museo Goeldi at Para, the country has two men of 
sound knowledge and ripe experience in Brazil and the 
Orient.* The remaining members of the Commission 
should be selected from men actually engaged in the 
business of rubber production in the Amazon Valley, 
and from that section of the commercial community 
directly connected with the rubber industry. 

Briefly summed up, these suggestions for meeting the 
present crisis in a practical way are The Federal 
Government to arrange with the States interested for 

* Dr. Huber died after the above was written. His successor 
should be selected with special reference to the knowledge of the 
rubber industry. 



COST OF PRODUCTION 117 

the suppression of the export duties, in consideration of 
an annual grant of 1,000,000 for such period as may 
be required ; to suspend temporarily the Customs 
charges on imported foodstuffs and other necessities 
of life, at an annual cost to the National Exchequer of 
some 650,000 ; and to appoint a competent Commis- 
sion to investigate the question of the extraction of 
latex, in order to ascertain in what direction improve- 
ments can be made to increase the yield. The obliga- 
tion to the State Governments is the introduction of 
drastic financial reforms and economies with a view to 
reduce public expenditure to one-half the present 
amount. It remains with the Brazilian people to 
decide whether the conservation of the rubber industry 
is worth the inevitable sacrifices it entails. 



CHAPTER X 

A COMPARISON OF THE BRAZILIAN AND 
ORIENTAL RUBBER INDUSTRIES 

Collective and individual energy Sources of production Area 
Varieties of Hevea in Brazil and the Orient Soil Climatic 
conditions Labour-supply Wage rate Cost of living Ad- 
ministration Age of production for rubber-trees Girth and 
height of trees Yield Method of tapping Preparation of latex 
Transport facilities Comparative exportation in 1913 Initial 
expenditure Cost of production Future costs of production. 

IN 1876 Mr. Wickham obtained from the Amazon 
Valley the seed for the foundation of the rubber 
industry of the Orient, and for that reason a comparison 
of the conditions and methods employed in connection 
with the two principal sources of the world's supply is 
instructive and interesting, in view of the present 
critical situation in both Brazil and the East. 

In the Orient an abundant and cheap labour-supply 
permits the employment of large bodies of workmen, 
under efficient superintendence, for the daily perform- 
ance of any manual labour required for plantation or 
other purposes. In Brazil the high wage rate prac- 
tically prohibits the use of collective force, and all 
enterprise is dependent on the result of individual 
energy, with little or no supervision over the work in 
hand. In the former case the man is paid a specified 
sum and a fixed amount of work is exacted from him ; 
in the latter the individual devotes as much or as little 

nS 



BRAZIL AND THE EAST COMPARED 119 

of his time to the task as he pleases, and receives pay- 
ment for results only. 

With collective force methodical practices become 
an absolute necessity ; with individual energy the line 
of least resistance is followed by instinct, and the out- 
come is often slovenly and uneven. If the work on 
the plantations of the Orient is compared with the 
exploitation of the rubber-trees in the Amazon Valley, 
the truth of this definition becomes apparent at once, 
and it is to the fundamental principles thereby involved 
that the great difference in the conditions of the rubber 
industry in Brazil and the East is due. It is more 
convenient to contrast the general physical features of 
the two centres of production to illustrate clearly the 
dissimilarity in existing conditions. 

In the Orient the rubber-trees are carefully and 
systematically cultivated, and all possible assistance 
extended to foster rapid development and afford pro- 
tection against disease. In Brazil the tree is a natural 
product of the forest, and no effort whatever is made to 
aid its growth or check the spread of pests of any kind. 
In the East the seed is selected with care, planted in 
specially prepared nurseries, and the young trees trans- 
ferred subsequently to properly prepared land where 
the conditions afford every possible chance for both 
branch and root growth. 

In Brazil the trees are self-sown, and only a very 
limited proportion of those germinating come to 
maturity in the dense shade of the surrounding forest. 
The acreage of planted trees in the Amazon " Valley is 
of such limited extent that it does not affect the general 
conditions, and calls for no special consideration. 



120 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

The planted area in the East may be taken approxi- 
mately as 1,500,000 acres, containing from 180,000,000 to 
200,000,000 trees. In the Amazon Valley no secure basis 
exists for an accurate estimate of the number of trees, but 
there is no reason to suppose that the figure of 200,000,000 , 
constantly put forward in official statements is an 
exaggeration. Indeed, many well-informed persons are 
of opinion that the total greatly exceeds that number. 

In the East the industry was founded from seed taken 
by Mr. Wickham from the River Tapajoz in 1876^ 
resulting in the reproduction of the white variety, and 
yielding rubber classified as " weak " (fraca) in the 
markets of Manaos and Para. In the Amazon Valley the 
species principally utilized are the black (preta), the white 
(branca), the red (vermelha), and the Itapuru (Hevea 
Guayanensis). The first of these stands out -pre- 
eminently for the resilient quality of the rubber it 
yields, while the product of the remaining three species 
is designated as " weak " (fraca), and sold on the Brazi- 
lian markets for 20 per cent, less value than that of the 
black (preta) variety. 

It is needless to refer to the yield of rubber from the 
castilloa, always designated in Brazil as caucho, for it 
exists in such small quantities in the East that it is not 
a factor of any importance when discussing the com- 
parative production of Brazil and the Orient; more- 
over, the exportation of this rubber from the Amazon 
Valley will be a thing of the past in the course of a few 
years, for reasons explained in the section dealing with 
the general conditions of the Brazilian industry. 

In the East the rubber-tree is planted upon many 
different classes of soil, and with the aid of careful 



BRAZIL AND THE EAST COMPARED 121 

cultivation it thrives in a surprising manner in nearly all 
localities selected with reasonable foresight in regard 
to the avoidance of undrained swampy lands or those 
exposed to strong prevailing winds. Throughout the 
Amazon Valley the soil is alluvial deposit on yellow or 
red clay, and rich in vegetable matter brought down by 
the rivers and distributed over the land by the annual 
floods. In many districts of the Lower Amazon the 
trees have their roots permanently below the water-level, 
and are flourishing under such circumstances in direct 
contrast to the result of all experience in the Orient. 

In the matter of rainfall, there is no great difference 
between the Amazon Valley and the Malay Peninsula. 
Both receive an average quantity of a little over 
100 inches annually ; but in Malay the distribution is 
more even than in Brazil, where a dry season, beginning 
in June and ending in October, is a regular occurrence. 
The temperature records show no very great variation, 
although they are slightly lower in the Amazon Valley. 
The heat, however, is less trying in Brazil than in 
Malaysia, for during the dry season there is only a 
comparatively small amount of moisture in the atmo- 
sphere. 

The labour for working the rubber plantations in 
the Orient is drawn from China, India, or local sources, 
and it is sufficiently abundant to insure large num- 
bers being available at a comparatively low cost for 
all classes of work in the fields or factories. Skilled 
mechanics are also cheap and plentiful, and the supply 
of domestic servants is ample. 

In the Amazon Valley the labourers are brought from 
the States of Ceara, Rio Grande do Norte, Maranhao, 



122 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

and Parahyba, where the bulk of the population is of 
negro or half-caste blood. Skilled labour is scarce and 
expensive, no matter whether Brazilians or Europeans 
are employed, and trained household servants are not 
obtainable. 

In the Orient the average daily wage rate is under 
one shilling, without rations, for able-bodied men, and 
women and children receive a much smaller remunera- 
tion. In the rubber districts of Brazil the average rate 
is six shillings and eightpence per day, with rations, 
together nearly eight shillings when allowance is made 
for the price of the food. 

. The rubber collector receives no money wage, but is 
a partner with the owner of the estate, and is entitled 
to 50 per cent, of the rubber he delivers during the 
season. 

In the East the coolie lives on rice and curry, at a 
cost of a few pence a day. In the Amazon Valley the 
labourers cannot buy the necessities of life for a less 
expenditure than two shillings and sixpence per day. 

Throughout the Orient large numbers of competent 
men, experienced in the management of agricultural 
and plantation enterprises, are always to be found, 
while in the rubber districts of Brazil it is seldom that 
the services of any capable administrators or managers 
are available. In the East a modest salary suffices for 
such men ; in the Amazon Valley a princely income is 
demanded for the indifferent performance of the duties 
essential to any responsible post. 

In the Orient rubber-trees begin to produce when 
four years old. In Brazil young trees are left un- 
touched at this period, and the generally accepted 



BRAZIL AND THE EAST COMPARED 123 

theory is that they cannot be tapped without injurious 
effects until they are twelve or fifteen years of age. 

In the East a rubber-tree 75 feet high with a girth 
of 100 inches at 3 feet from the ground is looked upon 
as a giant. In the Amazon Valley a tree of 150 feet 
high and 200 inches in girth is not considered anything 
out of the common. 

On account of the lack of reliable records in the past, 
it is practically impossible to compare the yield of 
forest trees in Brazil with those cultivated in the 
plantations of the Orient. In the districts of the 
River Madeira and the River Purus, the average return 
for thoroughly mature trees works out approximately 
at 5 pounds per tree; in the country adjoining the 
upper rivers, where the trees have been tapped only in 
recent years, the average yield is higher, and reaches 
nearly 7 pounds per tree. This would correspond to 
a crop in Malay from good trees of from twelve to 
fifteen years of age. 

In the districts of the Lower Amazon, where the 
trees have been damaged severely by bad tapping 
extending over half a century, the average return does 
not exceed 3 pounds per tree. 

In the Orient the excision system of herring-bone 
tapping, with occasional modifications, has become the 
basis for the extraction of latex from all trees of the 
Hevea species. It has been reduced to something 
approaching perfection by expert tappers under com- 
petent and vigilant superintendence, and it has been 
so far developed as to allow of thirty cuts to the inch 
of bark without injury to the cambium. An average 
of twenty to twenty-three cuts to the inch is expected 



124 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

from tappers on the majority of the estates, and this 
is done with gouge, farrier's or Burgess knife, or other 
tools constructed on like principles. 

In the Amazon Valley the incision method is 
universal, and the implement used is the small axe 
known as the machadinho, with which a triangular gash 
is made. Every cut so inflicted penetrates to the 
cambium, and in a large proportion of cases renders 
the trees open to the ravages of the borer and white 
ant. The result of this ruthless slashing of the trunk 
is that in a few years the tree is covered with warts, 
over which the bark grows very slowly, and tapping 
becomes extremely difficult and uncertain. Sometimes 
overhead tapping is resorted to ; more often the tree is 
abandoned for several years, until Nature repairs the 
damage done. The work is left entirely in the hands 
of the ignorant freguez (collector), who cares nothing 
about the welfare of the trees, and looks only to the 
amount of latex he can obtain to repay him for his 
work of collection and preparation. 

On the River Madeira a little supervision has been 
attempted, but elsewhere the proprietors have regarded 
with apathy in the past the practical destruction of 
their trees, owing in great part to the fact that the 
number untouched in the forest was so great that fresh 
sources of supply could be opened up when those in 
tapping became worthless. 

In the East the preparation of latex takes place in 
systematically-arranged factories where cleanliness is 
always kept in view. Coagulation is attained generally 
by acids, and effective machinery is employed to pre- 
pare and dry the rubber for the market. Economy is 



BRAZIL AND THE EAST COMPARED 125 

practised in all details from the time of the collection 
of the latex and scrap in the field to the date of ship- 
ment for exportation. In Brazil the latex is carried 
to a temporary shack and coagulated with the smoke 
of the Urucury nut. No effort at cleanliness is 
attempted, and grit, sand, and other foreign matter 
from the dirty surroundings, invariably find their way 
into the rubber to more or less extent. No systematic 
effort is made to dry the rubber before shipment, and 
it contains as a rule not less than 20 per cent, of 
moisture, and not infrequently over 25 per cent. Very 
little of the tree scrap is collected, and the cup coagu- 
lations brought in are thrown on the mud floor of the 
hut, there to remain until the accumulated quantity is 
sufficient for delivery-. This scrap is shipped to the 
market in a semi-putrid condition, and in that state 
finds its way to Europe or the United States. Eco- 
nomical methods are unknown on a Brazilian rubber 
property, and consequently the loss in value on the 
quality of fine rubber and quantity in the scrap from 
the time the latex is extracted from the tree to the date 
of sale is certainly not less than 10 per cent., and is 
often very much greater. 

In the East transport to the port of shipment is easy 
and inexpensive, no matter whether the production be 
in Ceylon, Malay, Java, or Sumatra. In the Amazon 
Valley the rubber properties are for the most part 
situated on rivers far distant from Manaos or Para, 
and the cost of steamer freight to one or other of those 
ports is a considerable item in the cost of production. 

The total exportation of rubber from the Orient in 
1913 was stated to be 56,000 tons. From the Amazon 



126 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

Valley the shipments for the season July i, 1912, to 
June 30, 1913, were 43,230 tons, including 10,130 tons 
of castilloa. For 1914 the total export of the East is 
calculated at 84,000 tons, while that of Brazil for the 
season 1913-14 is estimated at 43,000 tons. For the 
first time in history, last year saw a greater supply of 
rubber from the Orient than from the Amazon Valley. 
This means that plantation rubber becomes the domi- 
nant factor in the market, and prices for the raw 
material will depend more and more in future on the 
plantation industry, and not on the forest product. 

In the Malay Peninsula a fair basis of price for bring- 
ing 1,000 acres of rubber into bearing is 30 per acre. 
In the Amazon Valley the only initial expenditure 
required is for the construction of houses for the ad- 
ministration, and the cost of bringing the collectors to 
the property, this latter expense being recoverable 
nominally from the men. 

In the Malay Peninsula in 1912 the average cost of 
producing a pound of rubber was 

Cents. 

1. Collection (including cost of cups, deprecia- 

tion, etc.) 32 

2. Preparation (including depreciation of build- 

ings, factory, and machinery) 6 

3. Weeding 6 

4. Roads, drains, and cultivation 6 

5. Management 7 

6. Hospital 5 

7. Transport A 

8. Commission f 

9. Rent 2 

10. Export duty 2^ 

67** 

* 67^ cents of Straits dollar, worth 2s. 4d. at par, is. 7d. 
f.o.b. at Penang or Singapore. 



BRAZIL AND THE EAST COMPARED 127 

To this must be added the following expenses to date 
of sale in Europe : 

Pence. 

1. Freight 075 

2. Brokerage 0*25 

3. Sundry charges 175 

4. Commission 0*25 

3*00 

This brings the total cost up to date of sale to is. lod. 
per pound. 

In Brazil the cost per pound of rubber up to date of 

sale in 1913 was 

Pence. 

1. Freight to Manaos or Para ... ro 

2. Commission and charges 1*8 

3. Administration and owners' disbursements 6*4 

4. Cost of maintenance of collector delivering 

750 pounds of rubber 117 

5. Duties 4*9 

6. Freight and charges to Europe to date of sale 2*5 

28-3 

For the purposes of this calculation, the average value 
of all qualities of rubber is taken at as. 7d. per pound 
sold in London. 

It is stated on good authority that as the trees grow 
older and yield more freely, and the expense of weeding 
diminishes, the costs in the Orient can be reduced to a 
substantial extent, and that these factors, combined 
with a lower range of prices affecting all ad valorem 
charges, will enable an average cost of is. 3d. to be 
reached within five years. I see no reason to doubt 
that this lower figure will be attained within the time 
indicated, especially as it is already an accomplished 
fact on many Ceylon properties. 

In the Amazon Valley a similar position can be 



128 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

achieved if improved methods of tapping, largely in- 
creasing production without additional labour, can be 
introduced ; by more systematic administration ; by 
opening up the reserves of untouched trees ; by cheapen- 
ing the price of living by a reduction in the charges on 
imported foodstuffs ; and by diminution or abolition 
of the export duties. 

By such means only is it possible for Brazil to meet 
successfully the competition of the Orient in the world's 
markets. That such reduced costs can be brought 
about there is no doubt whatever, if the measures indi- 
cated in detail elsewhere in this description of the 
Brazilian rubber industry are adopted without undue 
delay. 



PART II 

THE RUBBER INDUSTRY IN THE 
ORIENT 

CHAPTER XI 
CEYLON 

Locality Extent Tenure of land Taxation Elevation above 
sea-level Rainfall Soil Origin of the rubber industry Health 
of rubber-trees The rubber " boom " and Ceylon Capitalization 
of rubber estates Working expenses Revenue from young 
plantations Organization of estates Frequency of tapping 
Recent experiments in regard to preparation of latex. 



has taken a leading place in the develop- 
>^ ment of tropical agriculture in the past, and with 
the establishment of the proposed School of Tropical 
Agriculture at Peradeniya the island will become the 
scientific training centre for the British possessions in 
the East. 

Since Ceylon was separated from the Madras Presi- 
dency in 1801, and created into a Crown colony, the 
main source of industry and wealth has been agricul- 
tural. The island has experienced many phases of 
existence during the past century, and more than once 
has been on the verge of bankruptcy. From 1875 to 
1880 the community was faced with ruin by the dev- 
astation of the coffee plantations from leaf disease 
(Hamilia vastatrix) ; in five years this pest assumed such 

9 129 



130 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

alarming proportions that the majority of the coffee 
estates were abandoned. In this extremity the planters 
turned their attention to the cultivation of cinchona 
and tea, and for several years struggled hard against 
adverse circumstances. At the time when the yield 
from the cinchona plantations should have brought relief, 
all hopes in this direction were shattered by a heavy drop 
in the value of the bark owing to over-production. 
With the cultivation of tea the community was more 
fortunate, and after a long period of constant struggle 
this industry was successfully established on a profitable 
and sound basis. The training undergone by the planters 
in the successive experiences of the cultivation of coffee, 
cinchona, and tea, served them in good stead when the 
question of the creation of rubber estates came to the 
front, and they are now reaping the reward of the 
knowledge they acquired under less prosperous con- 
ditions. The most important facts concerning the 
Ceylon rubber industry are summarized in the follow- 
ing brief description of the present situation : 

It is in the districts of the south-west portion of the 
island where the principal rubber plantations are 
situated. They are comprised within an area lying 
five miles in a direct line from the seaboard, and extend 
from Galle on the south coast, northwards to Kandy 
and Matale ; from the latter point westward to Kurune- 
gala, and from that place in a south-westerly direction 
towards Negombo ; thence to Colombo, Kalutara, and 
Alutgama. Nine-tenths of the rubber-producing indus- 
try is within this zone. 

The total extent of the rubber estates of Ceylon in 
1911 was 215,000 acres ; in 1912 it increased to 234,000 



CEYLON 131 

acres ; and in 1913 a further extension to 247,000 acres 
took place. There remains a large reserve of forest, 
probably not less than 200,000 acres, suitable for rubber- 
planting. These lands are owned partly by the Crown, 
and partly by private persons. In the latter case the 
values have risen very greatly during the past five 
years, and as a result planters are unwilling at present 
to pay the price demanded by the proprietors, who for 
the most part are Sinhalese. Cro\vn lands are sold by 
public auction on the application of the would-be pur- 
chaser. In this case also the average price per acre has 
advanced to three and four times the value ruling a few 
years ago. The reserve price is placed at a low figure, 
but not less than Rs. 15 per acre ; but sales at 
Rs. 100 per acre are not infrequent, and even higher 
prices are occasionally recorded when the land adjoins 
established plantations. 

Nearly all real estate is freehold, with title direct 
from the Crown. The only exceptions are certain 
tracts claimed "by Sinhalese in virtue of long occupation 
and cultivation. On these areas no rubber plantations 
have yet been opened. 

No direct taxation is imposed on the rubber-growing 
industry. The public revenue is derived from import 
duties, licences, stamps, sales of land, and other indirect 
sources. A small contribution of Rs. ij per capita 
is enacted for the maintenance of public roads, but 
members of any volunteer military organization in 
Ceylon are exempted from payment. Indian coolie 
labourers are also exempt from this tax. 

The altitude of the rubber-growing districts varies 
from a few feet above sea-level in the Kalutara, Kelani 



132 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

Valley, and other districts, to that of 1,700 feet at Pera- 
deniya and the vicinity of Kandy. The development 
of Para rubber-trees at elevations from sea-level to a 
height of 700 feet in the districts of Kelani Valley, 
Kalutara, and those lying to the south of Adam's Peak, 
is undoubtedly much greater than is obtained at the 
higher altitudes around and to the north of Kandy, but 
this may be accounted for to a very great extent by the 
more abundant rainfall in the former area. 

The rainfall is very unevenly distributed throughout 
the island. To the south of the range of mountains of 
which Adam's Peak is the central point, the annual 
fall varies from 132 inches to 170 inches ; in the neigh- 
bourhood of Kandy it is from 72 inches to 92 inches ; 
in the district of Matale it averages 75 inches. In the 
northern section of the island, at Anuradhapura and 
the surrounding districts, the annual fall is frequently 
below 40 inches. The moisture brought by the north- 
east and south-west monsoons is precipitated by the 
mountain ranges in the vicinity of Adam's Peak, 7,200 
feet above sea-level. 

The soil throughout the rubber-growing districts is 
a gritty and somewhat sandy red loam. A large pro- 
portion of the planted sections were cultivated many 
years before the introduction of the rubber industry, 
and humus and topsoil have been washed away by 
constant heavy rainfall. Many plantations are located 
on rocky hillsides, and the trees are thriving under 
those conditions. To remedy the effects of the loss of 
topsoil, the practice of manuring has become accepted 
as a necessity on nearly all plantations, and, as a 
general rule, this work is commenced immediately 
the young trees are planted. The usual practice is to 



CEYLON 133 

apply 840 pounds of superphosphates, mixed with other 
artificial fertilizers, per acre during the first six years 
of the plantation, and subsequently to continue this 
treatment after the trees reach the tapping stage. 
Green crops also are grown amongst young trees for 
purposes of manuring, and this method has given some 
excellent results. It remains to be seen how far 
manuring will benefit the trees when further develop- 
ment causes them to resume a forest character. 

/ The rubber industry in Ceylon owes its foundation 
to seeds collected in 1876, by Mr. Wickham, in the 
Amazon Valley. These were germinated at Kew, and 
plants were then sent to Ceylon, and set out in the 
gardens at Heneratgoda and Peradeniya. Seeds from 
these trees were distributed freely to owners of estates 
between 1881 and 1891 ; but the idea prevailed that 
only marshy ground was suitable for their growth, and 
therefore little interest was taken in their cultivation. 
A few experiments, however, were made for planting 
them on hillsides, and these proved of so successful a 
character that the area rapidly increased. Between 
1898 and 1904 a large number of tea plantations were 
interplanted with rubber-trees, and from the latter date 
the extension of existing plantations and the opening 
up of new ones has been pushed forward with energy 
and method. The industry to-day is firmly established 
in Ceylon, and promises to become quite as staple and 
valuable as the cultivation of tea, rice, cacao, or coco- 
nuts. An indication of the permanent manner in 
which it has taken root is seen in the small patches 
of rubber-trees planted by many Sinhalese near their 
houses and villages. 

In all the districts the trees are in a sound and 



134 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

healthy condition, whether at high or low altitudes. 
A little fungus leading to canker exists in some locali- 
ties, but not to an extent threatening any serious loss 
to plantations. Cambium rot and bark disease is prev- 
alent in some districts, especially Matale, but is kept 
in check by adequate measures and remedies. A 
certain percentage of the older trees have been damaged 
by bad tapping through inexperience, but the majority 
of these show every indication of practically complete 
recovery. A few insect pests are noticed, such as 
borer and white ants, but none that cannot be controlled 
by proper treatment. A liberal estimate of the loss 
of trees from all causes on the existing rubber planta- 
tions should not exceed 3 per cent. The worst enemy 
of the rubber industry in Ceylon is wind. Where con- 
tinuous strong winds prevail a stunted growth results ; 
but these conditions are only found in a few localities 
for instance, certain sections of the Matale district, 
where plantations are exposed to strong prevailing 
winds on the higher ridges. 

A large number of the rubber estates established 
previous to 1904 were due to the fact that rubber 
was interplanted with tea as a shade tree for the 
latter. As the trees developed and rubber became 
more valuable, the tea was abandoned owing to the 
shade becoming too dense to allow of profitable cul- 
tivation, but not until the tapping of the rubber-trees 
had begun. In these conditions the initial cost of 
the rubber estates for all practical purposes has been 
nil. When the rubber boom began, many of these 
properties were purchased by companies formed in 
London and elsewhere. In some cases exorbitant 



CEYLON 135 

prices were paid, but as a general rule the valuation 
was not excessive, in view of the price at which rubber 
was then selling in Europe. Since 1904 new estates 
have been opened up and additional acreage added to 
existing estates, but as a rule this work has been carried 
out on a conservative basis of cost. The same condi- 
tions apply to estates being planted at the present 
time, with the exception of paying a higher price for 
suitable land. 

Close investigation of all essential details shows the 
following expenditure to be necessary for the establish- 
ment of new plantations on forest lands : 

DISTRIBUTION OF COST WHEN OPENING AN ESTATE : EXPENSES 
FIRST Six YEARS 

Rupees. 

1. Value of 1,200 acres of forest land at 

Rs. 60 per acre 72,000 

2. Felling, lopping, burning, and cleaning 

1,000 acres 15,000 

3. Weeding 1,000 acres for six years ... 90,000 

4. Draining 1,000 acres 15,000 

5. Roads and bridges 20,000 

6. Holing, lining, and filling, on 1,000 acres 4,000 

7. Planting and supplying 2,000 

8. 200,000 two-year-old plants 6,000 

9. Building and equipment of factory ... 50,000 

10. Building bungalows for manager, assist- 

ant, and conductors 20,000 

11. Building lines for coolies 24,000 

12. Purchase of tools, etc 10,000 

13. Manuring 45,ooo 

14. Management for six years 90,000 



Total 463,000 

Value of 200 acres forest ... 12,000 

Capital value 1,000 acres rubber 451,000 



136 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

This allows a high rate of cost for all work and for 
the erection of first-class permanent buildings, but does 
not include the capital employed for recruiting coolies, 
which on an estate of 1,000 acres would amount to the 
sum of from Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 20,000. Nominally these 
so-called "^oast advances" are recoverable; in reality 
they are very seldom refunded. 

As has been pointed out already, the older planta- 
tions, where rubber has taken the place of tea, can 
hardly be said to have any original capital value, unless 
the cost of bringing the tea under cultivation in former 
years is taken into consideration. What frequently 
happened was that local companies were formed to 
obtain control of groups of these former tea estates. 
These, again, were sold to London companies with 
sterling capital. One such group was the Grand 
Central, which now has 12,500 acres under rubber. In 
this case the properties were turned over by the vendors 
at a valuation of 91 per acre. Another instance is 
the small property of Doranakandy, which was pur- 
chased for 44,000, contains 220 acres of rubber now 
averaging twelve years old, and yielded 112,000 pounds 
of rubber in 1913. In very few instances do any fixed 
interest charges exist, nearly all development being 
carried out by money subscribed for the ordinary shares. 
As shown in the foregoing calculation, the actual neces- 
sary cost of opening up a new plantation, and main- 
taining it properly until the trees are six years old, 
should not exceed 30 per acre for estates of from 500 
to 1,000 acres, this including purchase price of land and 
the necessary buildings and machinery. A carefully 
checked estimate furnished by a most reliable and 
practical planter places the cost of a thoroughly well 



CEYLON 137 

equipped factory, capable of handling not less than 
400,000 pounds of rubber annually, at a sum not 
exceeding 3,300. The machinery now in general 
use is simple, effective, and not costly. Oil-engines 
burning liquid fuel provide the required motive power. 
These engines in Ceylon are generally supplied by 
Hornsby and Co. or Crossley and Co., and other 
British manufacturers, and the fuel for them costs 
approximately threepence per gallon, delivered on the 
estate. The price of the creping and washing machines 
is 95 each, delivered at the factory. The most modern 
washing machines for scrap are more expensive, and 
they run as high as 250, but only one is required 
when handling a crop of 400,000 to 450,000 pounds of 
rubber. The only other machine is the dryer; one 
with two chambers of the Passberg patent would be 
required for a crop of the size mentioned, and could 
be installed for approximately 800. A less costly 
dryer, but not so effective, is supplied by the Colombo 
Commercial Company for 260. 

For an estate of 1,000 acres of rubber six years old 
the working expenses should be approximately as 
follows : 

Rupees. 

1. Collecting and curing 50,000 

2. Maintenance of roads and drains ... 5,000 

3. Weeding 6,000 

4. Manuring ... ... ... ... ... 18,000 

5. Cultivation (forking over land, etc.) ... 12,000 

6. Management (manager, two European 

assistants, chemist, two conductors, 

clerks, etc.) 25,000 

7. Depreciation on buildings and machinery 15,000 

8. Transport 3,ooo 

9. Colombo agents' commission 4,000 

10. Contingencies 10,000 

Total 148,000 



138 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

Allowing for the high rate of exchange now ruling, 
this equals 10,000. Of this total expenditure, two- 
thirds, or Rs. 100,000, is for payments to labourers 
employed on the estate. The average rate of wages 
for men, women, and children, is 35 cents per day for 
Tamil coolies, and for an estate of 1,000 acres about 
1,000 in all are required, these working twenty-four 
days in each month. 

The total yield from an estate of 1,000 acres of six- 
year-old trees in districts such as Kalutara or Kelani 
Valley should be not less than 150,000 pounds of fine 
dry rubber, equal to I pound per tree of dry rubber, 
or one-third of a gallon of latex. In addition to this 
yield of fine quality there will be 15 per cent, scrap. 
Values in Colombo to-day (January, 1914) range from 
2s. 2d. to 2s. 4d. per pound for fine plantation. At 
these prices the value of the crop of 150,000 pounds 
of first latex would be in round figures 16,708, 
and in addition 2,000 for the value of the lump 
and scrap, making a total of 18,700, leaving a 
net profit of 8,700 to the estate. If prices fall 
to half the present value, the net deficit would be 
300 on an estate of 1,000 acres of six-year-old 
trees, representing a capital investment of 30,000, 
unless expenditure is curtailed below the present 
scale, as probably would happen. The yield should 
increase steadily during the succeeding years in much 
greater ratio than the costs of production, and when 
the trees are twelve years old the output from 1,000 
acres of 150 trees per acre should not fall short of 
450,000 pounds of dry rubber. When this period of 
development is reached, the average cost per pound 



CEYLON 139 

of dry rubber placed f.o.b. Colombo should be as 
follows : 

Cents. 

1. Collecting (including maintenance of drains 

and roads) 20 

2. Curing (including depreciation of factory and 

machinery) , ... 6 

3. Management (including all charges connected 

with administration) 7 

4. Weeding 2* 

5. Manuring 6+ 

6. Cultivation (forking over land, cutting out, 

pruning, etc.) 2 

7. Transport 2j 

8. Colombo agents 2^ 

Total 47 

Allowing 2^ cents per pound for all unforeseen 
contingencies, production should not cost more than 
50 cents per pound, equal to 8d., f.o.b. at Colombo. 
At this rate a crop of 400,000 pounds would cost 
13,300 to collect and place in Colombo. At is. per 
pound it would be worth 20,000, and return a profit 
of 20 per cent, on 30 per acre. 

The charges per pound from Colombo to London at 
present are 

Pence. 

1. Freight at 655. per 50 cubic feet 70 

2. Brokerage ( per cent.) '12 

3. Insurance, sale charges, and other expenses 

(ii per cent.) -37 

4. Merchants' commission (i per cent.) ... '25 

Total 1-44 

(Calculated on a price of 25. per pound.) 

* This figure is considered somewhat high. 
t Allows Rs. 27 per acre per annum. 
I Practically a permanent charge. 



140 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

With a drop in the value of rubber to is. 6d. per 
pound, these charges, with the exception of that for 
freight, will be reduced automatically. 

From the data given, it will be seen that the actual 
necessary cost of Ceylon rubber from estates with trees 
averaging twelve years of age should not exceed gd. to 
zod. per pound placed in the London market. In 
several cases the total cost has been brought below that 
figure already, and a further reduction is anticipated in 
the near future. 

In opening up an estate on jungle lands, the work of 
felling the timber, lopping, and burning, is given out to 
contractors, the usual price paid being Rs. 15 per 
acre. Lining, holing, and filling, costs Rs. 4 per acre. 
Weeding is done by contract at Rs. 2j per acre 
per month for the first year, Rs. 2 per acre per month 
the second year, and Rs. ij per acre per month 
the third year. The price is then gradually reduced 
until it reaches 60 cents, or sometimes as low as 
50 cents, per acre per month, and it continues to be an 
annual charge at this rate. In Ceylon trees have been 
planted at varying distances apart during past years, 
but the measurements hitherto accepted as most satis- 
factory are 20 feet by 15 feet, giving 149 trees to the 
acre ; there is, however, a growing tendency towards 
wider planting and a reduction of the number of trees 
to 100 or less per acre. As a rule two-year-old stumps 
are used in planting an estate ; but some very success- 
ful results have been obtained from planting seeds, 
although there is always danger of injury from rats and 
other pests. The planting of catch crops between the 
lines of rubber-trees is now generally deprecated as 



CEYLON 141 

seriously retarding the growth, and the practice has 
been abandoned, with few exceptions. Tapping is 
begun on trees of five years old if the girth is 18 inches 
or more at 3 feet from the base, the methods in general 
use being the single V, the half-spiral, and the herring- 
bone. Women, and children of fourteen to sixteen 
years, are frequently employed at this work, and become 
expert tappers. Tapping begins at daybreak, and by 
10 a. m. the bulk of the latex is delivered at the factory, 
where it is mixed with an equal quantity of water and 
then treated with acetic acid in the proportion of i part 
acid to 1,000 parts latex, or an even weaker solution if 
the density is high, to produce coagulation ; it is then 
passed through the washing and creping machines, 
and thence to the vacuum dryer or the drying-rooms. 
The proportion of rubber to latex of average density 
should be i pound of dry rubber to one-third of a 
gallon of latex. When the drying machine is used, the 
rubber after treatment is conveyed to well-ventilated 
rooms, where it is hung for some days ; when no arti- 
ficial heat is possible, the rubber is suspended in sheds 
for several weeks to allow the moisture to evaporate. 
It is then packed in wooden boxes containing 112 pounds 
each, and is ready for shipment to Colombo, where it is 
received and stored by agents until shipped or sold 
locally. 

Opinion is much divided on the question of frequency 
of tapping. In some quarters it is stated that practical 
experience shows the trees tapped daily or on alternate 
days yield an equal quantity of latex at the end of a 
year. A few planters maintain that tri-weekly tapping 
will produce as much latex as in the case of trees 



142 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

opened daily. Various experiments have been under- 
taken at Peradeniya and on private estates with the 
object of deciding this very important point, but the 
evidence brought forward hitherto is not conclusive in 
regard to the general average results over large areas. 
The tendency of the trials made in different districts is 
to demonstrate that results are very largely dependent on 
local conditions of rainfall, soil, and atmospheric in- 
fluences, and the state of health of the trees. It may 
be possible to adjust conditions to some extent by the 
application of various classes of manure. Some tests in 
this direction have been made recently, but these have 
not yet been carried out to a sufficient extent to permit 
of the formation of any definite opinion on the subject. 
It is of the utmost importance that this question should 
be solved, for fewer tappings mean economy in labour 
and a substantial reduction in the cost of production of 
every pound of rubber, and also additional time for the 
recovery of the latex cells and the general health of the 
tree. 

The renewal of the cortex over the tapped surface is 
fairly satisfactory in Ceylon, although not nearly so 
rapid as the growth in the Malay Peninsula or in the 
Amazon Valley. At the higher altitudes the renewal is 
slower than in the districts of the Kelani Valley and 
Kalutara. In order to counteract any unsatisfactory 
results in connection with the somewhat slow growth, 
the experiment is being made of tapping with one cut 
only in place of two or three excisions ; on one estate in 
Matale where this test has been made the average yield 
of latex per acre showed no diminution at the end of 
a trial extending over six months. If further experience 



CEYLON 143 

proves that fewer cuts mean no substantial reduction in 
the quantity of rubber, a most important advance will 
be achieved, for the constant drain on the resources of 
the trees will be lightened to an appreciable extent. 

In view of the lower prices for plantation rubber as 
compared to the fine product from Brazil, various ex- 
periments were made in 1913 to apply Brazilian methods 
of coagulating the latex by the smoking process. In 
this connection Mr. H. A. Wickham, the "father of 
the rubber industry," has taken an active part ; he has 
succeeded in producing an article closely resembling 
fine hard Para, and a small consignment of this was 
sold recently in the London market at the same price 
as that quoted for the highest-grade Brazilian product. 
The inference is that some change in the established 
methods of preparing the latex may prove of distinct 
advantage to the producers. To cure the latex without 
any injury to the nerve of the rubber is a consideration 
calling for very close attention, and the present system 
of maceration after coagulation obviously does not tend 
in that direction, although the tearing apart of the 
tissues in the creping machines inflicts less harm on 
the crude material than might be expected. As matters 
are to-day, the curing process is convenient and rapid ; 
but it remains to be seen if more tardy results obtained 
by a partial reversion to the means employed in the 
Amazon Valley are not justified by higher values in 
the markets, and whether the additional price does not 
more than compensate for the cost of the extra labour 
employed. Reference to this subject has been made in 
the section of this book devoted to the Brazilian rubber 
industry ; but many of the principal difficulties in con- 



144 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

nection with preparation of latex in the Amazon Valley 
do not exist in Ceylon, and experiments on a com- 
paratively large scale can be conducted throughout 
the East at comparatively trifling expense to test any 
process likely to prove beneficial to the industry 
generally. 



CHAPTER XII 
CEYLON Continued 

Yield and density of latex Bulletin of the Ceylon Government 
Department of Agriculture Advantages of Ceylon for rubber pro- 
duction The labour question Discipline on estates Standard 
of living Future development and cost of production Ceara 
and castilloa Exportation^ rubber from Ceylon since 1904. 

WITH the exception of the period covered by 
February and March, when the weather is dry 
and the trees are wintering, tapping in Ceylon is con- 
tinued regularly throughout the year. On some " itates 
it is not suspended during the time mentioned, but the 
general rule has been to stop the work for these few 
weeks to allow the trees to recuperate from the exhaust- 
ing effects of the constant extraction of latex during 
the previous ten months. When tapping does take 
place in this latter portion of the dry season, the yield 
deteriorates both in quality and quantity. 

The ages of trees on Ceylon estates vary so greatly 
that it is difficult to obtain accurate statistics of yields 
over any large acreage. At Culloden Estate, in the 
Kalutara District, a section comprising seventy-nine 
trees gave the following results : 



Year. 


Age of Trees. 


Yield. 


1908 
1909 
1910 
I9II 


5 years old 
6 

8 " 

> 


77 pound 
1*02 pounds 
2-n 
2-90 



10 145 



146 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

On the same estate a field of 62 acres of ten-year- 
old trees yielded 700 pounds per acre of dry rubber in 
191 1 ; while another field of 46 acres, also of ten-year- 
old trees, gave a return of 500 pounds of dry rubber to 
the acre. At Doranakandy 220 acres with trees averag- 
ing twelve years old yielded 85,000 pounds of dry rubber 
in 1911, and 80,000 pounds and 112,000 pounds in 1912 
and 1913 respectively. This shows the average yield per 
acre to be approximately 500 pounds of dry rubber. 
On the Sunnycroft Estate, 4,950 trees seven and a half to 
eight and a half years old yielded in 1910-11 an average 
f 2 '55 pounds of dry rubber in ten months' tapping, 
equal to 380 pounds to an acre. 

The following interesting statistical information con- 
cerning density of latex, yield, girth, root growth, and 
spacing of trees, was published in 1913 by the Ceylon 
Government Department of Agriculture : 

HEVEA: YIELDS OF SOME HENARATGODA 
TREES 

The fame of the Henaratgoda trees as rubber yielders 
rests upon the performance of the great tree known 
departmentally as No. 2, which in three and a half 
years yielded 275 pounds of dry rubber. There are 
other trees at Henaratgoda equal in age and size to this 
great tree, but, never having been subjected to systematic 
tapping, their capacities were unknown. Some of these 
trees, though they could hardly be expected to equal 
No. 2, might nevertheless, it was thought, be good 
yielders. 

At Henaratgoda there are three old Hevea plantations, 
known as the First, Second, and Riverside. 



CEYLON 147 

The First Plantation is from the original seed pro- 
cured by Mr. Wickham from the Amazon in 1876. 
The plants reached Ceylon towards the end of that 
year, and were planted at Henaratgoda in 1877; this 
plantation is therefore thirty-six years old. It contains 
forty trees planted irregularly; the inside trees con- 
gested and small in circumference, the outside trees 
large. 

The Second Plantation was planted about ten years 
later that is to say, in about 1886 with seed from the 
original trees; it is therefore of the second generation. 
It contains 211 trees planted 12 feet by 12 feet. The 
contrast between the size of the outside trees and that 
of the inside is also very marked. 

In the Riverside Plantation, also of the second genera- 
tion, there are eighty-one trees scattered about, the trees 
being larger than those of the second. The outside trees 
also show a superiority of growth over their companions. 
In October last it was decided to place the outside 
trees of the three plantations under systematic tapping, 
with the object of ascertaining (i) whether any other 
trees besides No. 2 were good yielders ; (2) the effect of 
room on the yield of Hevea trees. 

Table I. brings out very strikingly the effect of room 
on the girth of Hevea. The average girth i yard 
from the ground of the ten trees in the outside row in 
the Second Plantation is 76 inches ; that of the trees in 
the row next inside 44 inches. The trees are tabulated 
as they grow; for example, No. 220, with a girth of 
32 inches, is next to No. 221, with a girth of nof inches. 
The famous No. 2, measuring 117^ inches, is not the 
largest tree, No. 39 (not in the table) being 10 inches 



148 



THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 



larger in girth (127$ inches). Some of the inside trees 
of the First Plantation, which are crowded and over- 
topped, are very poor specimens, though presumably 
equal in age to the others. Thus, No. 20 is 40 inches 
in circumference ; No. 13, 33 inches. 

TABLE I. : GIRTH MEASUREMENTS 
First Plantation : 15 Trees, 37 Years old (Original Trees) 



No. of Tree. 


Girth Measurement. 


j No. of Tree. 


Girth Measurement. 




Inches. 




Inches. 


I 
2 


77i 
"7| 


22 
23 


t 


3 




36 


884 


4 


66 


37 


80} 


6 


ioc4 




76 


7 


84 


40 


8oJ 


ii 


76 








15 






1,288* 


16 


3i 







Mean girth = 85-88 inches. 
Second Plantation : 10 Trees, 27 Years old (Second Generation) 



No. of Tree. 


Girth Measurement. 


No. of Tree. 


Girth Measurement. 




Inches. 




Inches. 


84 


71 


QO 


6 4 | 


85 


78 


100 


63 


86 


67^ 


III 


98 


sz 


62 


221 


nof 


88 


75 







89 


7 2| 




762* 



Mean girth = 76-27 inches. 



CEYLON 



149 



TABLE I. : GIRTH MEASUREMENTS continued 
Second Plantation : 10 Adjacent Trees next Row inside 



No. of Tree. 


Girth Measurement. ! 


No. of Tree. 


Girth Measurement. 




Inches. 




Inches. 


99 


& 


91 


44! 


97 


62; 




99 


3" 


95 


34 




no 


49i 


93 


48; 




220 


32 


92 


52; 

















44i 



Mean girth = 44x52 inches. 
Riverside Plantation : 13 TYeds, 27 Fjrs old (Second Generation) 









No. of Tree. 


Girth Measurement, jj No. of Tree. 


Girth Measurement. 





Inches. Inches. 


390 


6 3 i 


407 


56 


39 l 


78* 


438 


83 i 


395 


64 


439 


65! 




55i 


444 


66 


397 




445 


96 


400 


8o 







401 


753 




929! 


406 


65* 







Mean girth=7i'5i inches. 

Tapping on the three V system half round the tree of 
these thirty-eight outside trees was begun on Novem- 
ber i, 1912, and continued to February 15, 1913, when, 
dry weather having set in, the trees were rested. 
Tapping therefore took place daily for three and a 
half months. Tables II., III. and IV. give the weight of 
biscuit and scrap produced from these trees in the three 
plantations respectively. 






150 



THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 



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152 



THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 





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CEYLON 153 

The great No. 2 yielded 45 pounds 3^ ounces of dry 
rubber in seventy-six days, an average of just over 
9J ounces a day. This tree far surpassed any other. 
No. 439 in the Riverside Plantation is next in order to 
No. 2, with 24 pounds g\ ounces, an average of a little 
more than 5 ounces a day. The next two in point of 
yield, Nos. 401 and 438, are also in the Riverside 
Plantation. The trees of this plantation averaged for 
the thirteen trees 12 pounds f ounces, against n pounds 
15 ounces of those a generation older, and 7 pounds 
T2 ounces of the Second Plantation. The superiority 
of Riverside must be attributed to some extent to its 
proximity to the river. 

But the yields from all these trees are good, and can 
only be attributed to the fact that they have had room 
to extend in one direction. In Bulletin No. i of Sep- 
tember, 1912, p. 8, the yields of some trees of the 
Second Plantation are given as equal to an average of 
1*4 pounds per tree per annum. These trees are planted 
12 feet by 12 feet, and Dr. Lock attributes the small 
yields to close planting. From this view there would 
appear to be no escape, as within a few yards of these 
trees others, 12 feet from their neighbours in one 
direction, but in the other with ample room for roots and 
branches to extend unchecked, have far surpassed them. 

An examination of the manner in which these pro- 
ductive trees have branched and developed foliage 
reveals the remarkable power of Hevea to adapt itself 
to circumstances and to take opportunities. If we may 
be permitted a pleasantry, we can say that there is 
nothing of the Turveydrop about Hevea; it despises 
deportment. Its motto seems to be, Get to air and 



154 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

light ; elegantly if you can, but get there. This power 
of reaching light regardless of symmetry of dome is a 
valuable characteristic in the tree, and should be taken 
advantage of by planters. It possesses this power in a 
greater degree than any tree with which the writer is 
acquainted, resembling in this respect a bamboo more 
than an ordinary tree. 

The famous No. 2, the butt of which, with Mr. 
Wickham at its side, figured so prominently in a 
photograph at the recent New York Rubber Exhibition, 
possesses no symmetry of form whatever at the top. 
It has a magnificent upright trunk dividing into two at 
a height of 12 feet from the ground. These two stems 
then continue upwards, but soon begin to lean outwards, 
finally expanding into a mass of branches and foliage 
bending in one direction outwards. The shape of the 
whole tree but for the fork is not unlike that of an 
ostrich plume. Other of these trees exhibit the same 
disregard of shape, though all alike possess large leaf 
areas. 

The foliage of No. 2 extends to a distance of 55 feet 
laterally from the base of the trunk. 

No. 439, the second heaviest yielder, is isolated. The 
foliage of 401 extends outwards about 40 feet ; there is 
a nutmeg within 8 feet of it ; No. 445 has a very fine 
crown, overtopping small clove-trees in the vicinity. 
The foliage of No. i extends to 44 feet, No. 7 to 31 feet. 

No definite conclusion can be drawn as to the effect 
of early branching. The two heaviest yielders branch 
early : No. 2 at 12 feet and No. 439 at 15 feet ; No. 438 
also at 15 feet, No. i at 5 feet, No. 3 at 7 feet, No. 390 
at 12 feet, No. 391 at 15 feet. On the other hand, 401, 



CEYLON 155 

85, 90, 221, 23, 36, 40, run up to from 20 to 40 feet 
before branching. 

No. 439, the best yielder after No. 2, is one of the 
smallest trees under trial. The trees of the Riverside 
Plantation, which gave the highest average yield of dry 
rubber, have a mean girth of 71 inches, against an 
average of 89 inches in the thirty-seven-year-old trees. 
All are large trees, but as far as they go these trials 
seem to show that after a certain size has been reached 
increased girth measurement does not necessarily mean 
increased yield. 

Given room, the trees have extended their roots to a 
greater distance than their branches. At 55 feet the 
roots of No. 2 were of the size of a lead pencil and 
still extending, but they were not visible at the surface. 
A root of No. i, i inches in thickness, was observed at 
the surface 60 feet from the base of the trunk. It then 
descended into the ground. A root of No. 40 outcrops 
at 80 feet from the trunk. This tree gave 17 pounds 
5^ ounces of dry rubber in the three and a half months. 

These trials seem to bring out very strongly the 
importance of giving Hevea room to extend in one 
direction. It is perhaps reasonable to suppose that 
had these trees room in every direction even better 
results would have been obtained; but it is not the 
object of this paper to attempt to evolve the ideal 
plantation, but to record facts and to offer suggestions 
based on those facts. The Henaratgoda trees are 
particularly happy in not having the issue complicated 
by subsidiary influences. The soil is poor, the trees 
have never been manured, the ground is not forked or 
weeded or grazed. Twice a year the bents are cut with 



156 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 



O-i o'-O 40' o- o - O 

J J J J 

o o o o 

T T 77 

O-io'-O O-i o'-O 



O-10-O O-10*- 

J J *i ^1 

o o o o 

O-io'-O 40' O-io-O 

FIG. i. PLAN OF PLANTATION 

At spacings of 10 feet by 40 feet as shown, an acre would carry 
sixty-nine trees. 



CEYLON 157 

O-12-O 40' O-12-O 



1-1 2- O 



O-12-O 



O-12'-O O-12-O 



s io \o 



O-12-O 0-12^-0 



O-i2'-O 40' O-12-O 

FIG. 2. MODIFICATION OF THE SYSTEM SHOWN IN FIG. i. 
40 feet by 12 feet by 15 feet gives 112 trees per acre. 



158 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

a sickle, and periodically the leaves are swept up and 
taken away, Henaratgoda being a botanic garden to be 
kept tidy. This is the treatment these trees have been 
subjected to. There is a river close by, but this does 
not enable the inside congested trees to give more than 
I '4 pounds per annum. We are driven to the conclusion 
that the controlling factors have been air, light, and 
root room, these trees having had room at least on one 
side to extend. 

It has not escaped some observers that Hevea trees 
growing in pairs do not seem to suffer from the fact, 
and at the meeting of the Committee of Agricultural 
Experiments held at Peradeniya on March 16 it was 
decided to lay out a plantation to test this principle. 
Fig. i (p. 156) is a plan of a plantation based on this 
principle, but carried one step farther, four trees being 
planted closely together (10 feet by 10 feet) instead of 
two. Two would perhaps be better than four, and 
one than two; but the Henaratgoda trials afford good 
grounds for expecting a plantation laid out on the four- 
square plan illustrated in Fig. i would be in time return- 
ing heavy yields as compared with present standards. 
It gives every tree room to extend freely on two sides. 

Tables V., VI. and VII. give interesting comparisons 
of the proportion of latex to dry rubber in the various 
trees. In the great No. 2 tree the latex is rich, though 
one or two trees showed a slightly higher proportion 
of rubber. With the old original trees a mean of 
1,253*44 c.c. of latex produced i pound of dry rubber; 
with those of the Second Plantation, 1,330*88 ; the 
Riverside, 1,416*96. Taking the figures of the old 
trees as unity, the proportions may be represented as 



CEYLON 



159 



i, 1*077, 1*163 i.c. t 1*032 times as much latex was 
required from the trees of the Second Plantation as 
from those of the First to make i pound of dry 

rubber. 

TABLE V. : FIRST PLANTATION 
Cubic Centimetres of Latex to One Pound of Dry Rubber 



No. of Tree. 


Latex. 


Dry Rubber. 


C.C. to i Lb. 
Rubber. 




C.C. 


Lb. Oz. 


; 


I 


".253 


9 5 


I,248-00 


2 


46,310 


45 34 


1,024-80 


3 


15,515 n "4 


1,327*36 


4 


8,575 


7 3 


I,I92-96 


6 


9,026 


8 5 


1,08576 


7 


8,803 7 9 


I, 164-00 


n 


13,863 


10 3i 


1,360-64 


15 


6,561 


4 4: 


1,543-68 


16 


12,567 


8 9j : 


1,467-52 


22 


7i7 J 7 


6 


1,23472 


23 


12,586 7 6j 


1,706-56 


36 


12,656 10 2 


1,249-92 


37 


17,710 13 ij 


1,355-68 


40 
3i 


23,290 17 5* 
18,038 13 o 


I,345'I2 
1,387-52 


Average per tree 14,964-66 n 15 


i. 253 '44 



TABLE VI. : SECOND PLANTATION 
Cubic Centimetres of Latex to One Pound of Dry Rubber 



No. of Tree. 


Latex. 


Dry Rubber. 


C.C. to i Lb. 

Rubber 




C.C. 


Lb. Oz. 




84 


7,369 


5 I2| 


1,281-44 


85 


17,308 


II 7f 


I,5I3-28 


86 


13,574 


8 15* 


i,5 l8 72 


87 


7,749 


5 4f 


1,476-00 


88 


6,266 


5 144 


1,066-40 


89 


11,727 


7 8i 


1,563-52 


90 


6,762 


5 8 


1,229-49 


zoo 


8,239 


6 74 


1,279-84 


III 

221 


17,128 
8,686 


I 3 1 


1,262-88 
1,037-12 


Average per tree 


10,480-8 


7 14 


1,330-88 



i6o 



THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 



TABLE VII.: RIVERSIDE PLANTATION 
Cubic Centimetres of Latex to One Pound of Dry Rubber 



No. of Tree. 


Latex. 


Dry Rubber. 


C.C. to i Lb. 
Rubber. 




C.C. 


Lb. Oz. 




390 


",539 


8 4ft 


I,398'56 


391 


7,536 


6 2 


1,230-24 


395 


i5,44i 


10 5l 


1,497-28 


396 


12,125 


6 i3ft 


1,779-68 


397 


11,138 


6 n| 


1,665-44 


400 


15,386 


II I2i 


I,309 ! 44 


401 


33,313 


22 8 


1,480-48 


406 


n,834 


8 of 


1,479-20 


407 


5,i99 


5 4ft 


990-24 


438 


25,002 


18 lof 


1,342-24 


439 


36,418 


24 9^ 


1,482-56 


444 


13,448 


9 14 


1,361-76 


445 


23,522 


17 8 


1,344-00 


Average per tree 


17,069-3 


12 0| 


1,416-96 



There are many advantages in Ceylon for growing 
rubber. It is true that suitable land is not cheap, and 
not always easy to obtain. But the industry is well 
established, transport facilities are excellent, the organ- 
ization of estates is based on long experience gained in 
the cultivation of tea and coffee, competent superin- 
tendents can be obtained to undertake the important 
task of administration, and taxation is practically non- 
existent. The general conditions and productiveness 
of the trees is distinctly satisfactory. The renewal of 
bark after tapping is fairly rapid. Third renewals in 
both the Kelani Valley and Kalutara districts are 
exceptionally healthy, and yield latex freely. While 
malarial fever is not uncommon amongst the labourers, 
it is rarely of sufficient importance to affect seriously 



CEYLON 161 

the work on the plantations. Government dispensaries 
and hospitals are established in all districts, and these 
are attended to by resident Government Medical Officers. 
In 1912 official statistics showed 550,000 Indian coolies 
and 150,000 Sinhalese and other nationalities engaged 
in agricultural work in Ceylon. On September 30, 1911, 
the published returns gave 421,305 Indian coolies em- 
ployed in 1,830 estates ; of these the males numbered 
218,709, and females 202,596. The great majority of 
these labourers are thoroughly conversant with ordinary 
plantation work, and a very large percentage of them 
have become skilled tappers. The children grow up on 
the estates, and develop ability and intelligence in all 
branches of rubber production, as occurred in connection 
with coffee and tea planting in former years. Nearly 
all these coolies are Tamils, immigrating to Ceylon 
from the Madras Presidency, where they formed part of 
a population of some 30,000,000. With the linking up 
of the Ceylon railway system with that of Southern 
India the transport facilities for these immigrants will 
be greatly improved, and the agricultural industry of 
Ceylon reap a corresponding benefit. These coolies 
are recruited by kanganies sent out from the estates, 
and the cost of their passages is advanced by the owners 
of plantations. They are under no indenture, although 
an indenture ordinance exists in Ceylon, and after due 
notice and payment of any indebtedness they are 
legally free to leave the estate for employment else- 
where. Many complaints are heard in regard to this 
condition of affairs, but on the whole the system works 
on fairly satisfactory lines. The wage rate varies from 
40 cents for men to 25 cents for women, and 18 cents 
ii 



162 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

for boys and girls from thirteen to sixteen years of age. 
There is a slight tendency to a higher wage rate, 
induced, probably, by the demand from the Malay 
Peninsula for this same class of labourers. 

The hours of work in Ceylon are from 6 a.m. to 
4 p.m. on six days in the week for ordinary labour, and 
seven for tapping ; but a very great proportion of the 
work is by task, and can as a rule be finished much 
earlier in the day. Discipline on the estates is well 
maintained, and it is seldom any serious dispute arises 
between employer and labourer. The standard of 
living is low according to European ideas, but adequate 
for the class of labourer engaged. They are well 
housed in permanent lines, constructed with steel 
frames, galvanized iron roofing, plastered walls, and 
6-foot wide verandas. These barracks are divided into 
rooms 10 feet by 12 feet, and four coolies are allotted 
to each room. The usual custom is for these buildings 
to contain twelve rooms, built at a cost of Rs. 120 per 
room. The distribution of the rooms is left to the dis- 
cretion of the head kangany. The food consists of 
rice, supplemented by curry, dried fish, vegetables, and 
fruit. Occasionally meat and chicken are eaten, but 
not as a regular diet. Rice is supplied at cost price by 
the estate, and always at a cheaper rate than in the 
bazaars. The estates are compelled to establish and 
maintain free primary schools for the benefit of the 
children of the Indian coolies employed. 

In addition to the Tamil labourers, the Sinhalese are 
now employed much more frequently than formerly. 
The objection raised by the planters to this class of 
coolie labour is that the wage rate is higher, averaging 




A RUBBER FACTORY IX CEYLON, SHOWING A PASSBERG VACUUM DRYER 




A RUBBER FACTORY IN CEYLON, SHOWING RUBBER HANGING IN DRYING SHED 



CEYLON 163 

50 cents per diem in place of 35 cents ; also that it is 
not possible to maintain with them the same standard 
of discipline as with the Tamils. The Sinhalese is close 
to his own home, and when he is tired of work he 
takes his wage and departs. In wet weather he will 
not turn out, and when his village is busy harvesting 
rice or other products he prefers that occupation to 
the work on an estate. 

There is every reason to anticipate satisfactory con- 
ditions in regard to future production of rubber in 
Ceylon within the next seven years. If the present 
average yield is applied to 225,000 acres, and is taken 
as a basis for calculation, there can be small doubt that 
in 1919 the average production should be at the rate 
of not less than 4 hundredweights per acre. This 
would give a total output available for exportation of 
50,000 tons. This may be regarded as a minimum 
figure when calculating probable exports after 1919, for 
extensions of the present cultivated area will assuredly 
occur from year to year, and these may even duplicate 
the area of the existing plantations in the course of 
another fifteen or twenty years. In 1910 the exporta- 
tion of local origin from Ceylon in round figures was 
1,500 tons; in 1911 it rose to 3,000 tons; in 1912 it was 
6,200 tons; in 1913 the amount reached 10,686 tons ; 
in 1914 the export will exceed 15,000 tons; in 1915 
additional large areas come into bearing, and the expor- 
tation will not fall far short of 25,000 tons. Steady 
increases will take place in the three years following, 
and in 1919 the production will be approximately 
45,000 tons, with the prospect of further steady 
development. 



164 



THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 



So far as can be seen at present, the average cost of 
Ceylon plantation rubber f.o.b. Colombo should not 
exceed 8d. per pound, although the cost may be con- 
siderably below that figure, and in the case of some 
estates has been reduced already to 6|d. per pound. 

The question of Para rubber (Hevea Brasiliensis) only 
has been dealt with. Ceara grows well in various dis- 
tricts; but it is not much in favour, owing to difficulty 
in tapping, therefore the acreage cultivated is insig- 
nificant. Castilloa has been tried, but proved a failure 
wherever its cultivation was attempted, on account of 
the smallness of the yield. 

The following statistics show clearly the develop- 
ment of the Ceylon rubber industry during the past ten 
years : 



Years. 


Acres planted. 


Export (Tons). 


1904 


25,000 


35 


1905 


40,000 


75 


1906 


100,000 


150 


1907 


150,000 


250 


1908 


180,000 


400 


1909 


184,000 


681 


1910 


204,000 


1,500 


1911 


215,000 


3,ooo 


1912 


225,000 


6,250 


1913 234,000 


10,686 



In 1913 the total exports of rubber from Colombo 
were 11,835 tons, but of this amount 1,149 tons were 
imported and reshipped after sale at the local 
auctions; in 1912 some 200 tons were classified as 
re-exported. 



CEYLON 165 

The estimated exportation for the next six years is 



Year. 


Acres planted. 


Export (Tons). 


1914 


247,000 


15,000 


1915 


250,000 


25,000 


1916 


250,000 


30,000 


1917 


250,000 


35,000 


1918 


250,000 


40,000 


1919 


250,000 


45,000 



> CHAPTER XIII 

THE MALAY PENINSULA 

f Origin of the Malay rubber industry Diseases and pests 
common to rubber-trees in Malay-*-Principal localities of the 
rubber plantations 'Area of rubber estates Reserve lands suit- 
able for cultivation Acquisition and tenure of land Taxation of 
the rubber industry ^Altitude of rubber estates Characteristic 
features of the soil Meteorological conditions Variations of 
temperature Capitalization of Malay rubber estates Excessive 
capitalization, and its effects on the Malay rubber industry. 

IT was only when agricultural enterprise had fallen 
to desperate straits in the Malay Peninsula that 
the planting community began to consider the possi- 
bilities of rubber production to avert a ruinous condi- 
tion of affairs. The coffee industry was no longer 
profitable, and the cost of labour was too high to 
enable successful competition with Ceylon and India 
in the cultivation of tea. The cost of planting the 
coffee estates with rubber-trees was comparatively 
trivial, and many proprietors adopted that course as a 
last resource to save the capital already invested. The 
trees flourished to an amazing degree, and an extra- 
ordinary prosperity has resulted to the whole Malay 
Peninsula. Perhaps no better comparison is possible 
than to glance at the thriving circumstances of to-day 
in the Federated Malay States, and to remember that 
less than forty years ago the city of Kuala Lumpur was 
the headquarters of one of the most bloodthirsty hordes 
of pirates that ever existed. 

1 66 



THE MALAY PENINSULA 167 

The rubber industry in the Malay Peninsula originated 
from plants sent from Kew Gardens in 1877, and germ- 
inated from seed collected by Mr. Wickham during the 
previous year in the Amazon Valley. The establish- 
ment of plantations of rubber-trees was due mainly to 
the persistent efforts of Mr. Henry N. Ridley, the late 
chief of the Botanic Gardens at Singapore. For years 
" his voice was as the voice of one crying in the wilder- 
ness," for nobody was inclined to give credit to his 
assurances of the profitable future of rubber production. 
At length he induced a few planters to give the new 
cultivation a trial, but it was not until 1898 that any 
serious attention was devoted to it, and only then 
because the production of coffee and sugar-cane became 
unremunerative. Then coffee and sugar estates were 
interplanted with Para trees, and many tapioca planta- 
tions, owned in great part by Chinamen, were treated 
in the same way. /It was not until 1905 that the true 
value of Para rubber plantations was appreciated and 
understood. Since that date the area has increased 
from some 40,000 acres to the extent of 680,000 acres. 
It says much for the hardy character of the Hevea 
Brasiliensis that this development has taken place ; for 
very little attention or care was given to the trees in 
the early stages of the industry, and even when large 
areas were opened up a great lack of knowledge existed 
in regard to methods of cultivation and treatment. 
Evidence of this is seen everywhere on the older estates, 
where trees are crowded together without any regard 
to adequate space for futuradevelopment, and also in 
the damage done to the stejps when tapping was begun. 
It is only within the last fiye years that planters gener- 



1 68 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

ally realized the mistakes that had been made, and the 
necessity of careful and methodical cultivation and 
treatment to insure successful results.,/ 

After visiting the principal centres of the rubber- 
planting industry, the conclusion reached can only be 
that healthy conditions are the rule. The usual 
diseases exist, but not in an aggravated form ; the most 
serious obstacles in this direction are : (i) Root canker, 
or fomes ; this disease produces disastrous results if 
neglected; but it is understood, and when found is 
immediately treated by isolating the immediate sur- 
roundings of the tree, digging up and burning the roots, 
and applying lime to the infected area. (2) White ants 
are attacked as soon as they appear. (3) " Die-back " 
rarely does much damage. (4) Probably the worst pest, 
and one found in every district of the peninsula to 
more or less extent, is the formation of burrs or nodules 
in the bark. While these do not materially affect the 
general health conditions of the tree, they are a serious 
interference to tapping. They occur principally on old 
trees that have been badly tapped in past years, but 
they are found also on trees that have never been 
tapped. Dr. Huber of Para considers that they are 
the result of suppressed bud expansion in conjunction 
with bad tapping, and this diagnosis is supported by 
Mr. Lewton Brain, Director of Agriculture in the 
Federated Malay States. Dr. Huber further thinks 
they may be induced by the action of hot sunshine on 
renewed bark causing some form of irritation. In the 
earlier stages of growth these burrs can be removed 
without damage to the cambium, but if neglected they 
spread, and unite with the wood of the tree. Taking a 



THE MALAY PENINSULA 169 

broad view, however, of this and other pests, and even 
of the bad tapping in past years, the actual proportion 
of trees affected certainly does not exceed 2 per cent, 
of the total number in cultivation, and probably, if an 
accurate census was taken, would be found to be much 
below that figure. All well-conducted estates maintain 
a special gang of coolies whose duty it is to search con- 
stantly for any signs of disease, and report immediately 
any indication of an outbreak. 

The most important centres of the rubber-producing 
districts are situated between Singapore and Penang, 
and include the Native State of Johore, the Federated 
Malay States of Negri Sembilan, Selangor, and Perak, 
and the Settlements of Malacca, Province Wellesley, 
and Penang. In the State of Johore the development 
of rubber estates has been retarded by lack of transport 
facilities, but it is now making rapid progress. In 
Pahang similar difficulties exist, and these, in conjunc- 
tion with the mountainous nature of the country, have 
resulted in only a limited number of plantations being 
opened. In ICelantan, where the soil is well adapted 
for rubber-growing and local labour is abundant, 
insufficient means of communication have hitherto re- 
stricted planting enterprise ; but the construction of rail- 
ways and roads is being pushed forward rapidly, and will 
alter these conditions very shortly. Similar considera- 
tions also apply to the Native State of Trengganu. In 
Kedah the area planted with rubber is extending ; com- 
munication by road is now open between the principal 
centres and the Province Wellesley, and_railway con- 
nection will be establishjed^shortly. 

Along the railway-line from Tampin, in the State of 



i>70 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

Negri Sembilan, to Penang, the cultivation of rubber 
estates is practically continuous, although broken at 
intervals by Government forest reserves, and occasion- 
ally by tin-mining operations. For the greater part of 
this distance the planted area to the west of the railway 
extends to the seaboard, and to the east to the foot-hills 
of the mountain ranges intersecting the Peninsula. To 
give an idea of the extension of this area, it may be 
approximately calculated at 200 miles long, averaging 
five miles wide, and containing a total of some 640,000 
acres, including 500,000 acres of rubber estates. From 
Tampin to Singapore, a distance of 150 miles through 
the State of Johore, the cultivation is much more scat- 
tered along the line of railway ; but it is rapidly increas- 
ing, and it now exceeds 100,000 acres. 

Absolutely accurate returns of the acreage planted 
throughout the Peninsula are not available to show the 
present cultivated area. In 1910 the figures were given 
officially as 362,000 acres, but all inquiries tend to 
indicate that the statement was only an approximate 
one. The difficulty lies in the fact that many Chinese 
proprietors of large holdings do not make any 
return, nor do the very numerous class of Malay and 
Chinese owners of small patches planted with rubber, 
but also cultivated with other crops between the trees. 
In the Federated Malay States the export duty of 
2j per cent, on the value is no check upon the acreage, 
as the ages of the trees vary from those newly planted 
to others twenty years old. In the Straits Settlements 
of Malacca the assessment tax on trees is an equally 
unreliable guide, for it only takes effect on trees of six 
years and upwards. In the Native States no returns 



THE MALAY PENINSULA 



171 



are available, and the area can only be estimated. In 
view of these circumstances, the only method of obtain- 
ing approximately accurate estimates of acreage at 
each centre of cultivation is from visiting agents, 
resident planters, Government officials, business men, 
and also from secretaries of planters' associations and 
others interested in the industry. The estimates now 
given were revised with the assistance of the Secretary 
to the Planters' Labour Association, who has returns 
from 485 estates in connection with the distribution ot 
all Indian immigrants brought to Penang in accordance 
with the quarantine regulations. If the official figures 
are taken from 1906 to 1912, together with an allow- 
ance of 5 per cent, for the area planted in 1913, the 
total result shows 685,000 acres under rubber. The 
very large area planted in 1911 and 1912 was due to 
the great amount of capital subscribed for rubber 
enterprises during the boom of 1909-10. The fol- 
lowing table shows the expansion of the rubber in- 
dustry in the Malay Peninsula during the last eight 
years : 



Year. 


Acreage. 


Planted Each 
Year. 


Rubber 
exported. 








Tons. 


1906 


99,230 


- 


430 


1907 


179,227 


79,997 


485 


1908 


241,138 


61,911 


1,629 


1909 


292,035 


5 8 97 


3,340 


1910 


362,853 


70,818 


6,504 


1911 


538,000 


176,000 


10,700 


1912 


650,000 


112,000 


23,400 


*9 1 3 


685,000 


32,500 


35,352 



172 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

This area of 685,000 acres is distributed as follows : 

Acres. 

1. Federated Malay States 408,000 

2. Malacca 110,000 

3. Province Wellesley and Penang ... 25,000 

4. Kedah 10,000 

5. Kelantan 15,000 

6. Johore 100,000 

7. Singapore 15,000 

8. Trengganu 2,000 

685,000 

In April, 1912, the Director of Agriculture for the 
Federated Malay States published a statement that the 
total area under cultivation with rubber in the Malay 
Peninsula was 621,000 acres, exclusive of all holdings 
of less than 100 acres in extent. If due allowance is 
made for these small estates and for the expansion in 
1913, this statement tallies with the figures now given. 

The area of 112,000 acres planted in 1912 was as 
follows : 

Acres. 

1. Federated Malay States 55,ooo 

2. Johore 18,000 

3. Malacca 17,000 

4. Kelantan 10,000 

5. Kedah 5,000 

6. Singapore 5,ooo 

7. Province Wellesley and Penang ... 2,000 

112,000 

Apart from the 685,000 acres now under cultiva- 
tion, an area of 400,000 acres has been alienated under 
permanent title in the Federated Malay States for 
planting, and of this about two-thirds, or 260,000 acres, 
is available for rubber cultivation, and the remaining 



THE MALAY PENINSULA 173 

140,000 acres for coconuts. It is reasonable to suppose 
that a large proportion of this alienated land will be 
planted in the course of the next few years, in view of 
the fact that it represents a considerable capital expen- 
diture for premium paid, annual rent, and survey fees, 
already disbursed. 

The number of small holdings of under i acre 
belonging to Chinese settlers and Malays is a remark- 
able feature. They amount to many thousands, but in 
the aggregate do not comprise 5 per cent, of the total 
rubber acreage. 

In addition to the land occupied in the Federated 
Malay States for agricultural purposes, there remains in 
Johore, Kedah, Kelantan, and Trengganu, a very large 
area suitable for rubber cultivation. The extent of this 
acreage cannot be gauged with any proper degree of 
accuracy, as the lands in question have not been sur- 
veyed ; but it embraces several million acres, and of 
this probably not less than 1 5 per cent, will be available 
for plantation purposes. In Johore the percentage is 
certainly higher than 15 per cent. In point of fact, the 
question of suitable land will not check extensions for 
many years to come, especially in the case of established 
estates with reserves of forest lands, for with the exist- 
ing organization the cost of additional development 
will be comparatively low. The only real checks to 
future extension will arise from a further fall in the 
value of rubber, a marked increase in the wage rate 
of coolies, or a shortage of labour. It is possible that 
one or all of these circumstances may occur. 

Conditions for acquiring land for agricultural pur- 
poses differ in the various States and in the Straits 



I 7 4 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

Settlements. In Perak, Selangor, and Negri Sembilan, 
for land exceeding 10 acres in extent, a premium of 
3 dollars per acre is paid if with frontage to a public 
road, and 2 dollars per acre if without such frontage. 
The rent may be fixed by the Resident, with a minimum 
of i dollar per acre per annum for the first six years, 
and thereafter at 4 dollars per acre per annum for first- 
class lands, and 3 dollars per acre per annum for second- 
class lands. For lalang (grass) lands no premium is paid, 
but no difference is made in the annual rent. For 
lands planted with coconuts, fruit-trees, or rice, a rebate 
can be obtained reducing the annual rent to 2 dollars 
per acre per annum, but no such reduction is granted 
in the case of rubber plantations. In Pahang the 
annual rent for the first six years is 50 cents per acre, 
and thereafter 2 dollars per acre per annum. These 
provisions apply to all lands alienated in the Federated 
Malay States since January 19, 1906. 

In the Natiye_States of Johore, Kedah, Kelantan, 
Perlis, and Trengganu, land grants are obtained from 
the Sultans on constantly varying terms, and seldom 
conceded without the approval of the British Resident. 
As these States will undoubtedly come into the 
Federation in the near future, the tenure of land will be 
similar to that applied in the present Federated States. 

In the Straits_^Settlements, comprising Singapore, 
Malacca, Bindings, Province Wellesley, and Penang, 
the premium on agricultural lands is 3 dollars per 
acre. An annual rent of 50 cents per acre is charged 
for the first six years, and thenceforth 3 dollars per 
acre. No difference is made between lalang (grass) 
lands and forest. 



THE MALAY PENINSULA 175 

In many cases existing estates are held under con- 
ditions ruling before the present land regulations came 
into force in the Federated Malay States or the Straits 
Settlements. Some properties are freehold, or pay 
only a small quit-rent, while others are subject to a 
revision of the rent-charge at the end of thirty years ; 
but the majority of the plantations are now held under 
the terms in force since 1906. 

The following fixed charges are exacted in connec- 
tion with all agricultural lands granted in the Federated 
Malay States : 

Dol. Ct 

1. Preparation of grant 2 o 

2. Survey fees for i oo acres 135 o 

For each additional acre up to 300 acres ... o 90 

Survey fees for 300 acres 315 o 

For each additional acre up to 500 acres o 80 

Survey fees for 500 acres 475 o 

For each additional acre up to 1,000 acres o 70 

Survey fees for 1,000 acres 825 o 

For each additional acre up to 2,000 acres o 60 

Survey fees for 2,000 acres 1,425 o 

For each additional acre up to 4,000 acres o 50 

Survey fees for 4,000 acres 2,425 o 

For each additional acre up to 6,000 acres o 40 

Survey fees for 6,000 acres 3? 22 5 

For each additional acre up to 10,000 acres o 30 

Survey fees for 10,000 acres 4425 o 

For each additional acre above 10,000 acres o 20 

3. Registration of grant i o 

4. Certificate of title 2 o 

The charges and fees in the Straits Settlements are 
practically similar, and need not be repeated, especially 
in view of the fact that the remaining area of land 
available for rubber plantations in those sections of the 



176 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

Peninsula is extremely limited. In the four Native 
States of Johore, Kedah, Kelantan, and Trengganu, the 
same scale will be applied as soon as they become 
units of the Federation. 

In the Straits Settlements the method of taxing 
rubber varies. In Malacca there is an assessment tax 
on rubber-trees over six years old of 7 cents per tree, 
the rate altering from time to time, but fixed at that 
amount for 1913. It is not an easy tax to collect, 
especially in the case of Chinese and native holdings, 
but was imposed in this form in order to avoid any 
portion of the revenue becoming liable to contribution 
towards national defence, as is the case with all receipts 
from Customs duties. In Penang a tax not exceeding 
5 per cent, on the profits of an estate is exacted. 

In the Federated Malay States an export duty of 
2\ per cent, ad valorem is collected on all shipments 
of rubber, and the revenue so derived is employed for 
the maintenance of roads and other public works. 

The general revenue of the Straits Settlements and 
the Federated Malay States is derived from export 
duties on tin and tin ores, agricultural, miscellaneous 
and forest products, licences to sell and manufacture 
opium (chandu) and for the sale of alcoholic liquors and 
other purposes, premium and rent on lands alienated 
for agricultural and mining operations, revenue from 
posts and telegraphs, profits from State railways, and 
import duties on opium, petroleum, and intoxicating 
liquors. With the exception of the latter charges, all 
imported merchandise is duty-free. 

The elevation above sea-level of the rubber estates 
is best classified under four headings : (i) Old sugar 



THE MALAY PENINSULA 177 

lands near the seaboard situated about 4 feet above 
sea-level ; (2) lands formerly cultivated with tapioca 
and other products, and having an elevation of from 
10 to 50 feet ; (3) old coffee estates lying some 50 to 
150 feet above sea-level; and (4) forest lands opened up 
during the past seven years, with an elevation of 100 to 
300 feet. Above 300 feet practically no rubber culti- 
vation has been attempted as yet ; but several experi- 
mental stations have been established in the Federated 
Malay States, and at these Pard rubber is planted at 
varying elevations up to 2,000 feet, in order to ascer- 
tain the suitability of the highlands for its culti- 
vation. 

''The three characteristic varieties of soil in the rubber- 
growing districts of Malaya are (i) A strong, grey 
loam in the low lands near the seaboard, where sugar- 
cane was formerly cultivated, and where the water- 
level is only some 4 to 5 feet from the surface ; (2) a 
hard, laterite soil preponderating in Malacca, in some 
of the southern sections of Negri Sembilan, and appear- 
ing in portions of Selangor and Perak ; (3) a deep, red 
loam lying on a laterite subsoil, and found over a great 
extent of Negri Sembilan, Selangor, and Perak. The 
Para rubber-tree flourishes in all three of these soils^/ 
In the first the root growth is chiefly lateral, the tap- 
root disappearing when the water-level is reached. 
Sluice-gates are necessary on these lands to prevent 
inundations from high tides. The trees mature early 
and yield, well, but are subject to damage from strong 
winds, on account of the absence of deep tap-roots. In 
the laterite soils the growth is slower, and the yield of 
latex is smaller during the first two or three years of 

12 



178 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

tapping ; but trees from ten to twelve years yield more 
freely proportionately than at the earlier stages, and 
at that stage of development show little difference to 
those grown on the grey loam of the low lands near 
the seaboard and river estuaries. The third soil, ex- 
tending to the foot-hills of the mountain ranges in 
Negri Sembilan, Selangor, and Perak, is, in the opinion 
of impartial experts, best adapted of all for the culti- 
vation of the Para rubber-tree. The growth is rapid 
in the earlier stages, and the tree sends down a deep 
tap-root which gives a firm hold for resistance to strong 
winds. Occasionally these trees are snapped off by a 
violent gust, but seldom thrown down. The trees grow 
evenly, mature well, and they give a satisfactory return 
of latex from four years upwards ; moreover, they show 
steadily increasing yield with additional age. There 
are large areas of this red loam soil in Johore, Pahang, 
Kelantan, and Kedah, and these will undoubtedly be 
a great attraction to practical planters in the future 
development of rubber estates in the Malay Peninsula. 
The objection to it is that on steep hillsides it washes 
badly in heavy rains, on account of its friable nature ; 
even with a system of drainage scientifically applied 
there is great difficulty in saving the topsoil, especially 
when an estate is clean-weeded in the earlier stages of 
its development. 

/throughout the Federated Malay States the rainfall 
varies greatly, and is influenced to a marked degree by 
the proximity of different localities to the mountain 
ranges forming the backbone of the Peninsula. The 
following records for seven years ending 1910 show 
the average distribution : / 



THE MALAY PENINSULA 



179 



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00 N O OMO to 



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tx Vo ioVj-'-<tb 



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M oc p\ ;t N N N tx p rx p oo rf jo tx tx jooo vp ci io tx^ 
' ' 



tx j- -t CO tx 



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p JO O p p ON vp p 

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tx tx tx f 00 o\ ooo j- txv o Cx 



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OOtxOOi-iO ONtxlOON'* 



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JO p p vp JO p p JN JX. N ^ p Tf w O> 

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i8o 



THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 



January and February, 1912, were exceptionally dry 
months, rain falling on very few days during that 
period. This drought did not materially affect the 
yield of latex as far as can be judged by the output for 
that year. In 1913 another dry period occurred in the 
middle of the year, and in this case a decided shortage 
of latex resulted in several districts. 

Throughout the Malay Peninsula a very even tem- 
perature prevails in the low lands. The following gives 
the average mean maximum and minimum returns for 
fifteen years, from 1896 to 1910 : 





Maximum. 


Minimum. 


PERAK. 






Taiping 


90*52 


72"2I 


Batu Gajah 


90-58 


' ., 
72-46 






72'6^ 


Telok Anson 


89-89 


70-88 


Tapah ... . 


90*22 


69-16 


Parit Buntar 


89-38 


72-66 


SELANGOR. 






Kuala Lumpur 


89*90 


71-30 


Klang 


86'8o 


71-80 




87-00 


74-40 


Kuala Selangor 


86-80 


/2 T" 

76-00 


Kuala Kubu 


89-80 


72-40 


NEGRI SEMBILAN. 






Seremban 


88-40 


69-20 


PAHANG (1910 only). 






Kuala Lipis 


92-80 


68-70 


Raub 


Q2'OO 


64-00 




80-60 


71-00 




Q2"OO 


66-00 


i _^ 







For the consideration of the capital cost and present 



THE MALAY PENINSULA 181 

value of rubber plantations in the Malay Peninsula, it 
is convenient to separate them into three groups, each 
with its distinctive heading. With the present com- 
paratively low price for the crude material, an adjust- 
ment of the market value of shares in rubber companies 
is a natural corollary to the inflation of the quotations 
ruling from 1909 to 1912, for the rubber industry has 
passed the phase of exaggerated speculation, and has 
now entered the stage of providing sound opportunities 
for the investment of capital on a solid and dividend- 
earning basis. Because profits are reduced, it does not 
follow that the industry is any less staple than formerly ; 
indeed, quite the reverse is the case, for present de- 
velopments are more attractive to the conservative 
investor than was the case when market values were 
subject to wild fluctuations at the hands of irresponsible 
gamblers. Tropical agricultural enterprise should 
receive a high rate of profit, on account of the inevitable 
risks attending such undertakings, and a fair remunera- 
tion on capital so employed may be placed at not less 
than 15 per cent, per annum. The majority of Malay 
plantations can earn this rate of dividend on a valua- 
tion of the actual cost of establishing an estate and 
defraying all necessary charges for the first five years, 
such expenditure not exceeding a total outlay of 30 
per acre. Experience shows this figure to be ample to 
cover all expenses when the work is carried out on 
practical lines and stripped of all extravagant ideas. 
/The following classification gives the characteristic 
factors of each of the three groups of plantations: 
(i) Estates opened and worked before 1908 by private 
enterprise or joint-stock companies, before the situation 



i8a THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

was influenced by high prices for rubber and conducted 
on strictly economical principles ; (2) estates purchased 
at high prices by syndicates and joint-stock companies 
in 1909-10 from Group No. i, together with new estates 
opened up during the "boom " period; (3) estates estab- 
lished during 1911-12 by public companies or private 
enterprise. 

The first of these groups originally comprised about 
250,000 acres, and they consisted principally of coffee, 
sugar, and tapioca estates, converted into rubber plan- 
tations by interplanting existing crops with Para rubber- 
trees; they were owned partly by British capital, and 
partly by Chinamen resident in the Malay Peninsula. 
The original capitalization was small, and the cost of 
interplanting with rubber exceptionally low. When 
the rubber boom occurred, some two-thirds of these 
properties were purchased at high prices by joint-stock 
companies formed in Europe, Shanghai, Hong-Kong, 
and Singapore. The remaining area of this group, 
containing approximately 80,000 acres, continued work- 
ing and producing on^ their original low capital basis, 
and they naturally succeeded in paying very high 
dividends. Among these were Bukit Rajah, Cicely, 
Federated Selangor, Inch Kenneth, Linggi, Pataling, 
Selangor, Vallambrosa, and many others. 

Group No. 2 comprises some 500,000 acres owned 
by joint-stock companies formed chiefly during 1909 
and 1910 ; it consists of estates purchased from Group 
No. i at boom prices, and of new plantations opened 
in 1909, 1910, and 1911. This group must be regarded 
as decidedly over-capitalized in relation to the necessary 
cost per acre for bringing plantations to the yielding 
stage. 



THE MALAY PENINSULA 183 

The third group consists of companies and indi- 
viduals who have established new plantations on a 
conservative basis under careful and experienced 
management, and limited the total expenditure up to the 
time the trees are yielding to a sum of from 25 to 30 
per acre. Under these conditions some 70,000 acres 
are comprised. In this group are to be found many 
practical planters and successful estate managers who 
are opening up properties for their own account. 

Briefly summed up, the position is this : If 30 per 
acre is taken as a fair basis of cost for bringing an 
estate to the dividend-paying stage and it will be 
shown presently that this is the case the groups 
may be classified as follows : 

1. Old-established estates working on original Acres. 

capital 80,000 

2. Companies formed during the " boom" ... 500,000 

3. New plantations limited to a capital expen- 

diture of from 2$ to 30 per acre ... 100,000 

680,000 

The first noticeable effect of over-capitalization is a 
marked inclination on the part of many estates to extend 
the area under cultivation on strictly economical prin- 
ciples, and so reduce the average capital charge per acre. 
With the price of rubber at 53. per pound or thereabouts, 
it was easy to find money to effect these extensions, 
but with the great fall in the value of the raw material, 
the raising of fresh capital has become more and more 
difficult. It is only natural to suppose that many of the 
rubber companies launched during the " boom " will be 
subject to the usual vicissitudes of any great industry, 



184 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

and meet with unforeseen contingencies requiring most 
substantial financial assistance. Failing such aid a 
deadlock must ensue, and the liquidation of the company 
follow. In cases where debentures have been issued, 
the assumption is that the holders will foreclose, and 
obtain possession of the property on a low capital basis. 
Where no fixed charges exist the estates will be absorbed 
by more fortunate concerns, or purchased at a compara- 
tively low cost by European, Chinese, or local capi- 
talists. There does not appear to be any likelihood of 
such properties going out of cultivation unless in very 
exceptional circumstances. It is safe to assume that 
the general effect of over-capitalization will be towards 
the extension of the present cultivated area and the 
consolidation of properties into larger holdings. 

As an indication of the amount of over-capitalization 
resulting from the rubber boom of 1909-10, it is neces- 
sary to refer to the value of the flotations made in 
those years in Europe, Hong-Kong, Shanghai, and 
locally. It is not possible to give exact figures, but 
the approximate amount, certainly on the cautious 
side, may be taken as 

British, subscribed in 1909-1911 ^24,000,000 

Local and Chinese, subscribed in 1909- 1911 3,000,000 

27,000,000 

This gives an average capitalization of 54 per acre, 
distributed over 500,000 acres comprised in Group 
No. 2. Groups Nos. i and 3 may be capitalized at 
4,000,000, or an average of 27 per acre. 

From 1907 to the end of 1911, the nominal capital 
of rubber companies floated in London for all countries 



THE MALAY PENINSULA 185 

was 74,122,325 ; in 1912 the amount increased to 
76,500,000, and in 1913 to 78,000,000 in round 
figures. In the latter year the new capital provided for 
rubber enterprises in the Orient was 1,292,250, appor- 
tioned as follows : 

1. Malay Peninsula 740,000 

2. Sumatra 285,000 

3. Ceylon 105,250 

4. India 60,000 

5. British North Borneo 50,000 

1,292,250 

In addition to this amount for Eastern undertakings, 
a sum of 102,500 was subscribed for concerns in 
Africa, bringing the total new issues in London for 
1913 to 1,342,750. Money for rubber plantation 
purposes was provided also in France, Belgium, and 
Holland, although to a lesser extent than in London. 
The combined capital invested in European and local 
companies in the rubber industry of Malay, Ceylon, 
Java, Sumatra, India, Burmah, Borneo, and Saigon, is 
certainly not less than 100,000,000; probably it ex- 
ceeds that figure by a substantial amount, the greater 
part of this enormous sum having been subscribed in 
the five years from 1907 to 1912. 



CHAPTER XIV 
THE MALAY PENINSULA 

Cost of opening and bringing into bearing an estate of 1,000 
acres Cost of maintaining 1,000 acres containing 108 six-year- 
old trees to the acre General conditions concerning mainte- 
nance costs-f-Estate management Equipment of factories and 
preparation of rubber (Numbers and nationality of estate 
labourers Tamil coolies The Tamil immigration fund Labour 
from Java Malay labourers Population of the Malay Penin- 
sula Varying rates of wages Daily work-hours Only small 
percentage of skilled labour required Sanitary conditions and 
medical regulations. 

r I ^HE cost of establishing a rubber plantation and 
-A- maintaining it until it reaches the profit-earning 
stage has been the subject of much difference of 
opinion in the past, due in great measure to the fact 
that abnormally high prices for the crude material led 
to many extravagant practices in estate management. 
With rubber at three times the present value, share- 
holders cared little whether the expenditure was 30 
per acre or half as much more. To-day matters are on 
a different basis, and all expenses must be reduced to 
the lowest possible point consistent with thoroughly 
efficient results. The figures now given for the average 
necessary cost of plantations are the outcome of prac- 
tical experience, but they are, of course, subject to 
slight variations occasioned by possible exceptional 
circumstances. The detailed description of the labour 

conditions is for the purpose of permitting a full appre- 

186 



THE MALAY PENINSULA 187 

ciation of this essentially important factor in the situa- 
tion. Assertions are made frequently that a shortage 
of labour exists for the plantation industry, and that 
consequently the output of rubber will be curtailed. 
Speaking broadly, there is no foundation for any such 
statements ; for with Canton and Shanghai only three 
days distant, and the cost of passage 12 dollars per head 
from those centres of population, it is absurd to regard 
the labour problem as a serious difficulty, or one that 
offers a grave menace to the Malay rubber industry. 

In opening an estate on forest land not less than 
50 feet above sea-level, the estimated cost includes all 
necessary charges up to the end of the fourth year, when 
the yield should be sufficient to allow the capital account 
to be closed. Felling and cleaning up after the burn- 
ing of the timber is done by contract. Weeding may 
be by contract or day labour, whichever the manager 
considers the cheaper method. Prices vary slightly 
according to the situation of the estate, and whether it 
is close to or distant from the native labour employed 
for felling and clearing. No allowance is made for the 
removal of the stumps of trees or big logs, as the great 
majority of practical planters do not consider the pos- 
sible benefit compensates for the expense ; as a rule they 
prefer to maintain a vigilant lookout for fomes, white 
ants, and other pests, and to treat individual cases as 
they occur. The distribution of costs is self-explanatory. 

The cost of opening up lalang (grass) land is more 
or less the same as forest. There is no premium on 
this land, but the expenditure for eradicating the lalang 
is very heavy. On forest land the total for felling, clean- 
ing, and weeding, for four years amounts to 66J dollars 



i88 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

per acre ; on lalang land the cost is 45 dollars for clean- 
ing and 24 dollars per acre for weeding for four years, 
or 69 dollars altogether. Some planters are inclined to 
prefer lalang land because it is free from stumps and 

COST OF OPENING I,OOO ACRES AND FOUR YEARS' 

MAINTENANCE 

Dollars. 

1. Premium on land, i, ooo acres 3,ooo 

2. Survey fees, etc 1,000 

3. Rent for four years 4,000 

4. Felling, clearing, and burning 15,000 

5. Cleaning up after burning 7>5oo 

6. Weeding: First nine months 18,000 

Second year 12,000 

Third year 9,000 

Fourth year 5,000 

7. Draining 5,ooo 

8. Roads and bridges 7,500 

9. Holing, lining, and filling 4,000 

TO. Planting and supplying 2,000 

11. 150,000 plants two years old (providing 

for supplies) 4,000 

12. Manager's bungalow (6,000 dollars), assis- 

tants' bungalow (4,000 dollars) ... 10,000 

13. Factory and machinery 25,000 

14. Lines for coolies 20,000 

15. Tools 10,000 

16. Management 50,000 

17. Hospital, medical attendance, etc. ... 15,000 

18. Contingencies 8,000 

Total 230,000 

This is equal to 26 los. per acre.' 

timber ; against this is the fact that it has been already 
under cultivation, and has lost a large proportion of its 
topsoil. 

If the land to be opened up is low-lying and swampy, 



THE MALAY PENINSULA 189 

the extra cost of draining will be approximately 
3 per acre. 

The following estimate has been compiled after most 
careful inquiry : 

MAINTENANCE OF Six- YEAR-OLD PLANTATION 

Dollars. 

1. Rent 4,000 

2. Collecting 75,000* 

3. Curing and preparation 14,000! 

4. 2j per cent, duty on 300,000 pounds 

rubber 7,500 

5. Transport, shipping charges, and com- 

mission 6,000 

6. Management 17,500+ 

7. Hospital and medical attendance ... 6,ooo 

8. Weeding 3,500 

9. Maintenance of roads and drains ... 3,500 

10. Cultivation 6,000 

11. Contingencies 7,000 

12. Depreciation of buildings other than 

factory 5> 2 5 

Total 155,250 

With a yield of 300 pounds of rubber to the acre, the 
cost would be 51^ cents, or 14 J pence, per pound f.o.b. 
at port of shipment. At present the average actual 
costs of production are higher than stated ; but in most 
cases estates contain trees of various ages, a large pro- 
portion of them yielding for the first time, and therefore 
more expensive to tap and collect ; or they have been 
allowed to become overgrown with lalang and weeds, and 
this has entailed a heavy additional expenditure charged 

9 Includes depreciation on all tools and materials. 

t Allows 20 per cent, depreciation on factory and machinery. 

J Allows for manager, two assistants, and two clerks. 

In conjunction with neighbouring estates. 



igo THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

against revenue. Therefore the estimate given is a fair 
one for an estate of 1,000 acres planted with 100 trees 
to the acre, and properly cared for from the commence- 
ment. As the trees grow older and the yield increases, 
the costs of tapping and collecting per pound of rubber 
should substantially diminish ; this should be the case 
also in somewhat lesser proportion with the other items 
of expenditure. At the present rate of costs from the 
Malay Peninsula to date of sale in London or Liverpool, 
a sum of i^d. per pound of rubber must be added to 
the aforesaid cost of production, and this will bring 
the total costs per pound to is. 4d. If the price of 
rubber drops below 2s. per pound, the ad valorem charges 
for duty, commissions, and brokerage, will be propor- 
tionately reduced, and the total cost up to date of sale 
would be approximately is. 2d., still leaving a sub- 
stantial net profit to the producer. 

The yield of an estate properly cared for is taken at 
300 pounds of dry rubber per acre at six years old ; but, 
as is shown later on, all the indications are that well- 
grown six-year-old trees in Malay frequently give a 
greater return than 3 pounds per tree. It is better, 
however, to be on the safe side. The quality of the 
rubber made in nearly all the factories, whether crepe 
or sheet, is distinctly good, although the colour is not 
quite so bright as the Ceylon product, probably on 
account of the discoloured water common to the Penin- 
sula. The percentage of first latex and lump is low ; 
on many estates it only averages 70 per cent., and scrap 
bark and earth scrap 30 per cent. In a few cases, as at 
Kamuning, the return was 82 per cent, first latex and 
lump, and 18 per cent, scrap bark and earth scrap. 



THE MALAY PENINSULA 191 

There is a ready sale in Singapore and Penang for the 
produce of the estates, but as a rule a margin is allowed 
for commission. In Ceylon the reverse obtains, and the 
relative price in Colombo is frequently higher than in 
London, and for this reason a certain quantity of 
Malay rubber has been shipped to Colombo for sale 
during 1912 and 1913. 

The managers of the Malay estates are nearly all men 
of trained planting experience and good education. 
Many of them came to the country twenty years ago, 
and learnt their work as planters on the coffee and 
sugar plantations, and then helped to convert those 
properties into rubber estates. Others have been re- 
cruited from Ceylon and Southern India, and several 
officials resigned the Government service for planting. 
All are required to be efficient in the handling of labour 
and the organization of the routine work of estates. 
They are responsible in every way for the well-being of 
the estates and their personnel, and it is seldom that any 
serious fault is found with their administration abilities. 
When the rubber boom was at its height, a certain 
number of incompetent men obtained employment, but 
they are fast being weeded out. Over the managers 
are the visiting agents appointed by companies and 
private owners to inspect estates from time to time, 
and to advise on the general policy to be followed in 
connection with the administration. 

Until three years ago it was only on a comparatively 
small proportion of the rubber estates that factories 
specially designed and equipped for the curing and 
preparation of rubber existed. In very many cases old 
coffee- stores and sugar-houses were utilized, and tem- 



192 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

porary buildings erected for the treatment of the latex, 
drying, and smoking. Frequently hand machines were 
used for creping and for rolling out sheets. In fact, 
most primitive methods were customary on the great 
majority of plantations. During the last three years, 
however, a complete change has occurred, and modern 
machinery driven by Tangye, Diesel, Hornsby, Black- 
stone, Crossley, and many other types of engines, has 
been installed on all estates of any importance. Hither- 
to many estate managers have preferred to send their 
latex to a neighbouring factory for treatment ; but, as 
greater areas of trees begin to yield, it is found more 
economical and satisfactory to undertake the curing and 
preparation on the estate than to pay for having the 
work done outside. On many large estates where the 
fields are far distant coagulating stations are established, 
and the latex treated with acid before being sent to the 
factory. 

The expense of a modern factory is comparatively 
light apart from the cost of the building. This, as a 
general rule, is steel-framed, with corrugated iron roof 
and sides. Concrete floors are laid down, with adequate 
guttering to allow free drainage for constant sluicing 
and washing, for cleanliness is regarded as a necessity 
in the preparation of the latex. On one side of the 
factory are installed the machines for washing, creping, 
or rolling sheets, and these are driven from overhead or 
underneath shafting served by engines of the type 
already mentioned. The machines most in use are the 
Shaw or the Bridge patent, and these are of three 
grades, for the purposes of breaking down the coagu- 
lated latex, rolling, and finishing. Opposite the machines 



THE MALAY PENINSULA 193 

are the coagulating jars or tanks ; if the former they are 
made of glazed earthenware, and if the latter they are 
lined with glazed tiles and built in oblong* form. 
Coagulation is effected by the use of acetic, formic, or 
fluoric acid. Down the middle of the building are 
tables for handling the coagulated latex before it passes 
into the machines, and the crepe or sheet after passing 
through them. Where sheet is made, it is coagulated 
in flat pans 15 inches long, 10 inches wide, and 2 inches 
in depth ; m these the latex is allowed to set for some 
hours before machining. The fuel for generating the 
necessary engine power varies, liquid fuel, suction gas, 
and anthracite, being employed, the latter being most 
.commonly used at present. The washing machines for 
scrap of the Werner, Pfleiderer and Perkins patent 
work smoothly and give excellent results. 

From the factory creped rubber is taken to the drying- 
sheds, and hung for a period varying from twelve to 
twenty days, or sometimes longer, until the moisture 
has evaporated, the time required for this operation 
being dependent very largely on weather conditions. 
Sheet rubber is taken from the factory to the smoking- 
house, and remains in smoke produced by burning cocoa- 
nut husks or wood for four to five days. It is then 
removed to the drying-shed and hung up until fit for 
packing. Scrap, bark scrap, and earth scrap, are made 
into crepe and dried in the same manner as first latex 
and lump. In the Malay Peninsula the practice of 
smoking crepe has been abandoned on many estates, 
and a light, bright colour is the object desired. In 
this connection the bad water-supply occasions many 
difficulties, on account of its muddy and discoloured 
13 



194 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

character, and it is frequently necessary to filter it 
before use in the creping and washing machines. 
Another result of this condition of the water-supply 
is the heavy wear and tear on the rollers of the machines 
on account of grit. 

On only very few estates are mechanical dryers in 
use. On three plantations Kent, Wardiebrun, and 
Bukit Rajah vacuum dryers on the Passberg system 
were erected, but the managers had received orders 
from London not to make use of them. It is difficult 
to understand this policy, as the results obtained from 
these machines in Ceylon are distinctly satisfactory, 
and the saving in labour and economy in time is of 
undeniable advantage. With a dryer the latex can be 
ready for shipment twenty-four hours after its delivery 
at the factory, and, moreover, the expense of drying- 
sheds is avoided. Many managers state that artificial 
dryers must come widely into use very shortly, in view 
of the rapidly increasing output of the factories. 

When dry the rubber is packed in wooden boxes and 
despatched to the port of shipment. The cases used 
are the " Venesta " imported from Russia, the " Momi " 
from Japan, and various kinds manufactured from 
native woods. The weight of rubber in these boxes 
varies on different estates from 112 pounds net to 
230 pounds net. The ton weight far exceeds the 
50 cubic feet measurement settled by the Shipping 
Convention, and for which the charge is 655. from 
Singapore, Port Swettenham, or Penang, to London or 
Liverpool or the Continent of Europe. 

In connection with this high charge for freight, some 
experiments are now being made in the direction of 



THE MALAY PENINSULA 



195 



reducing the rubber in presses similar to those used in 
Sumatra for tobacco, and then baling with Javanese 
mats. By this method something more than a ton 
weight of rubber can be shipped in the 50 cubic feet 
allowed by the Shipping Convention, and by this means 
a considerable saving in the freight charge can be 
effected. There is little doubt that, if the trial shipments 
in this form are successful, boxes will be discarded for 
bales in the near future throughout this country. 

Official returns show that the labour force, not in- 
cluding contractors to fell and clean up new estates, in 
1911 was 



Tamils. 


Javanese. 


! 

Malays, j Chinese. 


Others. 


Total. 


98,988* 

i 


I7,76ot 


14,258 45,663 


2,361 


179,030 



In 1912 the Superintendent of Indian Immigration 
supplied the following data : The total number of deck 
passengers from India during the previous twelve 
months was 101,218 adults and 7,253 minors, making 
108,471 in all ; of these, 78,376 adults and 6,013 minors 
were sent to plantations, and of the remaining 24,082 
who had paid their own passages from India no record 
was kept, but the majority probably went to different 
estates. The number of coolies returning to India 
during the same period was 48,103, thus leaving a 
balance in favour of Malay of 60,268. From these 
figures the Indian coolies working on estates or on 



*~Males, 74,966 ; females, 24,022. 
t Males, 13,003 ; females, 4,757. 



ig6 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

public works may be placed at not less than 150,000 at 
the end of 1912. Recruiting in India is being carried 
out actively, and only a few days ago 300 men from 
various estates left for India for recruiting purposes. 
The Superintendent of Indian Immigration stated that 
he fully expected a large increase in the number of 
Tamil coolies during 1912-13. 

The method of recruiting Indian coolies for work on 
the Malay rubber estates is best explained by the fol- 
lowing notice, issued by the Superintendent of Indian 
Immigration for the Malay Peninsula: 

THE TAMIL IMMIGRATION FUND 

For years previous to 1907 there had been continual 
complaints from employers importing Tamil labour that 
coolies imported by them were attracted away to the 
service of other employers who paid no portion of the 
expense of importation. 

The Immigration Committee, appointed by the 
Government in that year, recommended that the cost 
of the importation of Tamil labourers should be distrib- 
uted amongst all those who employed them ; and the 
Tamil Immigration Fund Enactment, based on the 
recommendations of the Committee, was subsequently 
passed. 

Under this law an assessment on the amount of 
work done by their coolies is levied upon all employers 
of Tamil labour, and the proceeds are paid into a fund 
styled the Immigration Fund. Employers are required 
to send in to the Superintendent of Immigrants, 
Penang, on printed forms which may be obtained from 

I 



THE MALAY PENINSULA 197 

him, certified returns of their Tamil labour for every 
quarter ; the returns must be sent during the months 
of April, July, October, and January. 

The amounts at which they are then assessed must 
be forwarded to the Superintendent to be credited to 
the Immigration Fund. This Fund is not part of the 
general revenue of the Government. It is adminis- 
tered by the Superintendent of Immigrants under the 
authority of the Immigration Committee solely in the 
interests of importers of Tamil labour. The Govern- 
ment is, in fact, the largest contributor to the Fund 
through the assessments which it pays on all Tamil 
coolies employed on the railway and in the Public 
Works Department. 

The purposes for which the Fund can be used are 
expressly laid down in the enactment as follows : 

(a) The payment of free passages for Tamil labourers 
and their families from the Madras Presidency to this 
country. 

(b) The general expenses incurred in connection with 
the recruiting of labour in the Madras Presidency. 

The Government bears all the expenses of adminis- 
tering the Fund, paying the salaries of officials and 
clerks ; maintains large kangany camps at Madras and 
Negapatam, where coolies recruited by kanganies are 
housed pending shipment by steamer ; provides officials 
in India (the Emigration Agent at Madras and the 
Superintendent of Emigration Depot at Negapatam), 
who superintend these camps and generally assist in 
matters connected with recruiting; provides coolie 
depots at Penang and Port Swettenham ; and grants a 
large annual subsidy to the steamship company which 



ig8 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

maintains the weekly coolie service from India to the 
Straits. 

The Immigration Committee pay from the Fund 
passage money from India and trainage in India, as 
explained below, and also maintain native agents (at pre- 
sent eleven in number) in India at various places, whose 
duties are to assist kanganies, help in forwarding their 
coolies, and arrange the payment of their train fares. 

Whenever the balance to the credit of the Fund 
after paying the above expenses justifies such a course, 
a recruiting allowance is paid to employers in respect 
of each coolie imported by them from India under the 
Committee's licences. At one time an allowance of 
3 dollars per head was paid, and this was subsequently 
increased to 4! dollars. The number of coolies imported 
in the summer of 1910 was, however, so large, and the 
bills for steamer tickets consequently so high, that the 
Immigration Fund became temporarily depleted. As 
the assessment on the increasing number of Tamils 
now in the country is received, the Fund will again 
have a balance to dispose of, but at the time of writing 
(November, 1910) it has been necessary to suspend for 
the present the payment of recruiting allowances. 
The allowances will, however, be renewed as soon as 
possible. 

It will be seen that practically all the money col- 
lected from employers in the form of assessment goes 
back directly or indirectly to those employers who 
import labour, the only portion that does not do so 
being the small amount paid in connection with the 
native agents appointed at various places in India. 



THE MALAY PENINSULA 199 

INSTRUCTIONS FOR RECRUITING BY KANGANIES IN 

INDIA 

Kanganies receive licences to recruit in the Madras 
Presidency from the Superintendent of Immigrants, 
Penang. The licences are granted free of charge. 

Forms, to be rilled in by the employer, will be sent 
on application to the Superintendent of Immigrants ; 
when the required details have been filled in by the 
employer, the licences should be sent to the Superin- 
tendent of Immigrants for registration and signature. 

The usual procedure is as follows : 

The employer sends his kangany over to India, and 
generally makes arrangements with either the Madura 
Company in Negapatam or Messrs. Binny and Co. 
in Madras (these firms are the British India Steamship 
Company's agents in each case) to finance him ; the 
custom is for the firm to pay the kangany so much per 
head for each coolie actually produced by him and 
shipped. 

By this system the risk is avoided of giving to the 
kangany large advances in cash, which he might very 
likely squander. These two firms have agents in the 
Straits and Federated Malay States to whom they cable 
information of the number of coolies shipped for each 
estate ; the local agents inform the employers, and it 
is thus possible for each estate manager to know before 
arrival of the steamer the number of coolies shipped 
for him. 

There are officers of this department stationed at 
Negapatam and Madras; at the former he is styled 
Superintendent of the Emigration Depot, and at the 



200 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

latter Emigration Agent. They give assistance and 
advice to kanganies, and they superintend the kangany 
camps at Negapatam and Madras respectively, where 
coolies are accommodated until shipment. 

Kanganies holding registered licences will be 
granted 

(a) The train fares of coolies from various centres 
in the Madras Presidency to Negapatam or Madras. 

(6) The steamer fares of coolies from Negapatam or 
Madras to Penang or Port Swettenham. 

The local train fares are paid to the kanganies them- 
selves by the Committee's agents in India. The system 
by which they are paid is simple and works easily, 
and is explained to every kangany on his arrival in the 
recruiting districts. 

The steamer fares are paid direct to the steamship 
company by the Committee's agents in India, and all 
coolies for shipment must be brought to the kangany 
camps at Negapatam and Madras, and shipped from 
thence by the contract steamers to Penang or Port 
Swettenham. 

All Tamil coolies are entitled to leave their employer 
after a month's notice, whether they are imported from 
India or recruited locally, and no deductions may be 
made from their wages for any sums advanced them or 
expended in their recruitment before their arrival at 
their place of employment. 

L. H. CLAYTON, 

Superintendent of Immigrants, 
S.S. and F.M.S. 

PENANG, 
November 24, 1910. 



THE MALAY PENINSULA 201 

Employers of Tamils were assessed at the rate of 8 dol- 
lars per coolie for 1912. If coolies are engaged locally, 
and not through the Immigration Department, an addi- 
tional assessment of 4 dollars per head is imposed, the 
object being to stop the crimping of coolies from other 
estates. Out of the funds so obtained free passages are 
provided from the recruiting districts in Southern India 
to the estate in the Malay Peninsula. Hitherto a rebate 
has been allowed to estates despatching kanganies to 
the recruiting districts, but this practice has been 
suspended for the present. 

Javanese labourers are divided into two classes: 
(i) Those imported under indentures to serve on 
estates for a period of three years ; and (2) those 
recruited locally as day labourers without any time 
contracts. The indentured Javanese are obtained 
through agents in Java and under conditions imposed 
by the Javanese Government. A copy of the approved 
contract is reproduced, showing the responsibilities of 
both parties to the agreement. The cost of recruiting 
and importing these coolies varied from 92 to 100 dollars 
per head in 1912, and is a most serious consideration 
for many employers. The advantages of possessing a 
permanent labour force must be set against this high 
initial expenditure. Endeavours have been made to 
reduce the cost of importation and arrange for a more 
plentiful supply; a Commission with this purpose in 
view was despatched to Java in 1912, to approach the 
Government on the subject, but met with no practical 
success. 

The Javanese recruited locally in the Malay Penin- 
sula are labourers who have come to the country in 



202 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

past years under indenture, and not cared to return to 
their homes. They do not form a large proportion of 
the estate labourers. 

The following is the form of agreement between 
labourers and employers approved by the Javanese 
Government : 



LABOUR AGREEMENT 

As per Government resolution dated 28th of February, 
1894, No. 5 (Supplement No. 4,964; Juncto No. 5,826 
and 7,073). The recruiting is permitted by Govern- 
ment resolution dated 

We the undersigned [Register No. ; Running No. ; 
Name; Age; Origin; Last Residence ; Remarks], con- 
tractors on the one side, and Soesman's Emigratie 
Vendu en Commissie Kantoor, acting in this instance 
as the attorneys of , situated 

, contractors on the other side, 
hereby declare to have mutually agreed as follows : 

i. The contractors on the one side undertake to 
perform the following work on behalf of the estate 
of 

For Men. Field and manufactory labour in connec- 
tion with the cultivation of rubber, sugar, coffee, and 
tobacco, laying out water-courses (gutters) and roads 
should they be able to do so, building sheds and houses 
(carpentering which requires more skill excepted), felling 
forests, performing the duty of a carter and rendering 
assistance in case of danger caused by fire or water in 
short, all such labour as generally performed by natives. 

For Women. Cleaning the seedlings beds and gardens, 



THE MALAY PENINSULA 203 

cleaning buildings and premises, and performing all 
such work as can be done by and demanded from 
women. 

2. The extent of the labour to be performed on 
behalf of the estate is at most nine hours 
on every working day, provided always that the con- 
tractors on the one side shall not work for more than 
six hours at a stretch. Only under exceptional circum- 
stances the contractors on the one side may be required 
to work for more than nine hours. In such cases, and 
in case the contractors on the one side out of their own 
free will perform labour beyond the working time, 
extra wages will be paid to them on the first pay-day, 
such wages to be calculated per hour and under the 
condition that such extra payment shall be at least 
50 per cent, more than the contracted wages per hour. 

3. The contractors on the other side shall pay to the 
party on the one side daily wages of 25 dollar cents to 
a man and 15 dollar cents to a woman, to be settled on 
or before the I5th of the month during which the 
wages are earned. The wages shall also be paid for 
the days during which labour is not performed owing 
to inability beyond the labourer's fault. In case of 
sickness not caused by misbehaviour, half-wages shall 
be granted for only one-tenth of the contracted period. 
No wages are due for the rest and holidays mentioned 
in this agreement. Deductions from the contracted 
wages are only allowed for settling advances or debts 
due to the contractors on the other side. 

4. The contractors on the one side acknowledge 
having received an advance of f. 15 for each unmarried 
person and f . 20 for each married couple, which advances 



204 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

shall be paid off in monthly instalments of not exceed- 
ing 2 dollars each. 

5. The contractors on the one side are free from 
labour during one day of every week and during two 
days on the occasion of native New Year. 

6. The contractors on the other side supply to the 
contractors on the one side, as well as to their family, 
free lodging, free medical attendance, free board, and 
free drink-water. 

The free board shall consist of Raw rice i pounds, 
spice i ounce, tamarind i ounce, fish (fresh or salted) 
6 ounces, salt i ounce, onions I ounce, vegetables 
6 ounces, cocoanut-oil J ounce, fresh cocoanut ; blachan 
i ounce, green pepper i ounce. Children, whether doing 
any work or not, shall receive the following ration : 

Children between 12 and 15 years, full ration. 

10 12 three-quarter ration. 

3 10 one-third ration. 

The free board is furnished for the days when work 
is done, for those days which the labourers may count 
as working days, and for the holidays as per agreement. 

7. The labourers shall not be separated from their 
families against their will. 

8. Contractors on the other side shall pay the passage 
money for conveying the labourers and their families (if 
any) to their destination, and at the termination of the 
contracted period, or in the event of the agreement 
being dissolved by force majeure, convey them back to 
their residences free of charges. In case the contract 
is renewed, the labourers and their families shall be 
entitled to a free passage to their respective homes, this 



THE MALAY PENINSULA 205 

right holding good for five years after the lapse of the 
last contract. Should a labourer die in the course of 
his service-time, the contractors on the other side shall 
for their account send back the family to their original 
residences within three months after the decease if 
desired, and keep them pending a shipping oppor- 
tunity. 

9. The time lost by the contractors on the one side 
on account of the consequences of a misbehaviour or 
sickness during more than one-tenth of the contracted 
period, leave, desertion, or punishment in gaol, shall not 
be counted as a part of the contracted time. 

10. At the expiration of any agreement, contractors 
on the other side shall at their expense send home the 
labourers and their families, and keep them pending 
shipping opportunity. 

11. Any agreement lapsed and any renewal of con- 
tract must be reported to the Dutch Consul at Singa- 
pore. The contractors on the other side must also 
report to the above Consul whether any of the released 
labourers have renewed the agreement or whether they 
have been sent home, and, if so, by what opportunity and 
whether they have settled down somewhere else. 

12. The contractors on the one side shall present 
themselves to the manager of the estate on the 

day of the month of the year 19 . 

13. This agreement has been made to hold good for 

from date of presentation to the manager 
Thus agreed at Samarang on this date, the 
day of the month 19 . 

The contractors on the other side. 



206 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

After having explained the above-mentioned to the 
contractors on the other side and to the contractors on 
the one side in their own language, and after they have 
agreed to the above-mentioned, and the contractors on 
the one side have declared that the above conditions 
are well known to them and that they accept these 
conditions, the advance of f. 2.50 for the unmarried 
and f. 5 for the married was paid in my presence, while 
another f. 2.50 to the unmarried and f. 5 to the married 
shall be paid before embarkation, and the remaining 
f. 10 per head at Singapore, in presence of the Dutch 
Consul, to which they agreed. 

The Recruiting Commissioner 

SAMARANG, 19 . 

Malays do not constitute a large section of the estate 
labour. They do excellent work in felling timber and 
opening up land on contract, but care little for the 
steady drudgery of day-to-day work throughout the 
year. They are not very numerous in the planting 
districts, except in Kelantan, where the development of 
the rubber industry is only beginning, and there they 
are employed to a considerable extent. 

Next to the Tamils the most important factor in the 
labour question is the Chinese element. The class 
known as the Singkeh was indentured for one year, and 
agreed to perform 300 days' work. The men received 
only 8 cents per day as pay, but were provided with rations 
and other articles costing 20 cents per day. The cost 
of recruiting these men and bringing them to the 
estates was approximately 60 dollars per head. Notwith- 
standing this high charge, the average cost for the day's 



THE MALAY PENINSULA 



207 



wage was reasonable if it had not been for the heavy 
percentage of desertions, frequently amounting to 25 
per cent, of the total force. The tin-mining industry 
attracted these men so strongly that they were unable 
to resist the temptation of breaking their contract for 
agricultural labour in order to take their chance in the 
mining districts. In this respect conditions have 
become so unsatisfactory of late years that this class of 
indentured labour was prohibited in 1913. 

The Chinese labourers now employed on estates are 
free from any form of indenture. They are a most 
valuable addition to the labour force ; but they demand 
high wages, and in some cases are paid as much as 
90 cents a head per day. They do better work on con- 
tract than for a daily wage, and in this manner are 
employed, with most satisfactory results, on many estates 
for tapping, weeding, and all other labour which can be 
contracted out on reasonable terms. 

According to the last census, taken on March 10, 
191 1, the total population of the Malay Peninsula was 
2,649,970, divided as follows : 





Males. 


Females. 


Total. 


Europeans 


7375 


3^9 


11,065 


Eurasians 


5,296 


So 11 


10,807 


Malays ... 
Chinese ... 


720,110 
734,3 8 4 


692,086 
181,499 


1,412,196 
915,883 


Indians ... 


204,220 


62,950 


267,170 


Others 


16,481 


16,368 


32,849 



The indentured Javanese are the only estate labourers 
receiving fixed remuneration under contract. The 
former are paid at the rate of 25 cents a day for men, 



208 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

and 15 cents for women. With the cost of rations 
added, this means the equivalent of 40 cents for men 
and 26 cents for women per diem, plus the cost of 
importation, amounting to not less than 92 dolars 
distributed over three years and a sum of 5 dollars 
for repatriation. This brings the actual value of a day's 
work to 54 cents for men and 40 cents for women. 

The Tamil coolie is free to obtain such daily wages 
as he can bargain for, but the rate varies in every dis- 
trict, and often even on neighbouring estates. On an 
old-established and popular estate, such as Linggi, the 
average rate for men is 27 cents, and 22 cents for women. 
Tappers receive 30 cents and 25 cents. On Devon 
Estate, only thirty miles distant, men are paid 45 cents 
and women 35 cents, with higher rates for tappers. In 
the Klang district the average rate paid is 30 cents for 
men and 25 cents for women, with 33 cents and 28 cents 
for tappers. In fact, the rate paid depends very largely 
on the management of the estate and the reputation it 
has in Southern India. Taking an average on a number 
of estates employing Tamil labour in the Federated 
Malay States and the Straits Settlements, the daily 
rate isapproximately 38 to 40 cents for men and 33 to 
35 cents for women, including the amount of the 
assessment for the Indian Immigration Fund. 

Malay labourers receive 45 cents for men and 35 cents 
for women as a general rule. Occasionally higher rates 
are paid when the demand for labour is urgent. 

Chinese labourers ask a higher wage than any 
other nationality. It varies from 60 to 90 cents per 
day, and in some cases even a dollar is paid. When 
calculating contract work, the usual custom is to allow 



THE MALAY PENINSULA 209 

60 cents per day per man, and at this rate arrangements 
can be made for nearly all classes of estate work, 
whether tapping, weeding, roading, or draining. Many 
managers prefer to work with Chinese contractors 
rather than by daily employment of Tamils or Javanese, 
and assert that the labour is better and more expedi- 
tiously accomplished. 

During the last two or three years the demand for 
coolies has been very great, on account of the large area 
being opened for new plantations, and this has created 
a decided tendency towards a rise in the rate of wages. 
For the present, however, prices appear to have reached 
as high a scale as they are likely to average for some 
years to come, unless unexpectedly large additions 
should be made to the area under cultivation. The 
satisfactory annual increase in the importation of 
Tamil labour is an important factor in keeping down 
the wage rate, especially in regard to the Chinese. If 
for any reason Tamil immigration should decline, and 
the estate owners become dependent on Chinamen, 
there is small doubt that increased wages would result. 

A day's work is nominally nine hours; but the dis- 
tribution is by task which coolies can finish by 2 p.m., 
and often at an earlier hour. In the factories, as a rule, 
work continues until the day's delivery of latex has 
been put through the machines, and special rates are 
paid to the men detailed for this purpose. 

The only skilled labour required on an estate is for 
tapping and factory work. Intelligent coolies learn 
both very quickly under competent supervision. On a 
plantation where all trees are yielding latex, at least 
80 per cent, of the men, women, and children, will be 
14 



210 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

employed at tapping and collecting. For factory work 
specially intelligent men are selected, but the whole 
process of the curing and preparation of rubber is so 
simple that there is seldom any difficulty in connection 
with the labour employed. Cleanliness is one of the 
principal factors, and that depends on supervision. 

Health conditions vary very greatly throughout the 
Malay Peninsula, but the three principal diseases found 
in more or less degree in all districts are malaria, 
dysentery, and diarrhoea. The deaths amongst Indian 
coolies from the former in 1910 numbered 2,597, and 
from dysentery 1,350, while 683 were due to diarrhoea. 

Sanitary regulations are now enforced by Government 
ordinance on all estates. Adequate hospital accommo- 
dation must be provided, with properly qualified medical 
attendance and supervision, and these hospitals are 
constantly visited by official medical officers. The 
cost of the erection and equipment of the estate 
hospitals is a serious item of expenditure ; but in the 
case of smaller properties it is not uncommon for an 
arrangement to be made to contribute to the cost of a 
joint hospital situated in a central position, and to pay 
pro rata of the coolies employed to defray the expenses 
of the resident doctor and the maintenance of the wards. 
Naturally, planters grumble a good deal at the strict 
medical inspection practised by the authorities ; but it 
is obviously necessary to enforce all possible measures 
for the health of the labourers, both on account of the 
loss of work occasioned by sickness, and also in order 
to maintain a good reputation for the Malay planta- 
tions in the districts of Southern India where the 
coolies are recruited. 



CHAPTER XV 
THE MALAY PENINSULA Continued 

'Organization of rubber estates Catch crops Tapping 
Housing accommodation Discipline ( Dietary Educational 
facilities Yield of trees Cost of production Analysis of expen- 
ditureCharges after shipment " All in" costs Past and future 
production-fFuture development. 

THE organization of a rubber estate in the Malay 
Peninsula offers no very serious difficulties to an 
experienced planter. If Government forest land is 
required, an application for the area in question is 
submitted to the authorities, and this request will be 
attended to without undue delay. The land is then 
surveyed and the fees charged, according to the scale 
set out in the Land Enactment Act. If the area 
chosen lies low and near the water-level, under condi- 
tions such as exist in sections in Malacca, Klang, Teluk 
Anson, Province Wellesley, and other districts, it must 
be drained before the timber is felled, otherwise the 
debris after felling and lopping will not burn. On the 
undulating forest lands away from the seaboard this 
preliminary draining work is unnecessary. 

Contractors for felling and cleaning the requisite 
acreage can be engaged without difficulty, Malay labour 
doing this work most effectively at a cost of from 
12 to 15 dollars per acre for felling and lopping, 
and 7J dollars per acre for the subsequent cleaning 
up. After the burn has taken place, the work of lining 

211 



212 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

and holing is carried out, the holes being cut 2 feet 
in diameter and 2 feet deep. If the estate is to be 
clean-weeded, the planter will arrange for weeding by 
contract or day labour, to begin shortly after the burn. 
He must buy the necessary plants, if he has not made 
his own nurseries the previous year. Before the plant- 
ing season comes, the holes will have been filled in 
ready for planting. This operation takes place in all 
months, but October and November are regarded as 
most suitable, on account of weather conditions. 

The distance apart for planting Para rubber varies 
so much that no hard-and-fast rule can be laid down. 
Close planting means a greater yield of latex during 
the first few years the trees are tapped; but wider 
distances apart insure better development after the 
first seven or eight years. Gradually the custom is 
being established of planting 20 feet by 20 feet (108 
trees to the acre), 30 feet by 10 feet, or 36 feet by 
12 feet, the two latter systems termed in Malaya 
" avenue planting." Considerations of land and general 
conditions must influence any decision as to what 
distance the trees should be apart. 

The planting of catch crops is condemned univer- 
sally in Malaya. A few estates still continue the 
practice, but the opinion of the great majority of 
planters is distinctly adverse to it, on the grounds that 
it seriously retards the development of young rubber- 
trees. Tapioca has been the principal catch crop 
grown by both Europeans and Chinese when rubber 
estates are opened in this manner. Robusta coffee is 
found in certain districts, and in Province Wellesley 
a little sugar-cane is still cultivated. One effect of any 



THE MALAY PENINSULA 



213 



catch crop is to produce an uneven growth in young 
plantations, and this adds considerably to the cost of 
tapping when the trees begin to mature. 

As showing the detrimental effects of sugar-cane as 
a catch crop, the following return, furnished by the 
Penang Sugar Estates Company, is sufficient proof. 
These young trees were grown for two years inter- 
planted with sugar-cane, and their yield at seven and 
eight years old is far below the average : 



Field. 


Acres. 


Planted. 


| Per Tree. 


Per Acre. 








Lb. 


Lb. 


A , 1 1 


150 
68 


1903 and 1904 
1904 1905 


2-17 

2'53 


227 
265 


7 


152 


1904 1905 


2'2O 


239 


Chankat Dain 


52 


1904 1905 


2'55 


270 



These trees are planted on the average 20 feet by 
20 feet, or, say, 108 to the acre. 

In the colony of Singapore and in the south of the 
State of Johore a considerable area of rubber is inter- 
planted with pineapples as a catch crop, the estimated 
area being 12,000 acres for Singapore and 10,000 
for Johore. The reason is that a pineapple canning 
industry has been established in Singapore for some 
years past, and has proved to be a profitable enter- 
prise. From a rubber planter's point of view nothing 
can be said in favour of this product as a catch crop ; 
it exhausts the soil of both nitrogen and phosphates, 
and the serrated edges of the leaves occasion constant 
damage to the bark on the lower portion of the stems 
of the rubber-trees. One can well understand, however, 
the attractions of this cultivation for the Chinese 



214 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

agriculturists, who possess the principal interest in it. 
Within a few months of planting a remunerative crop 
is obtained, and this profitable return continues for 
some three years, with no other expenses for cultiva- 
tion than keeping the ground free from weeds and 
picking the fruit when ripe. Moreover, the fruiting 
season extends practically over the whole year, and so 
causes no inconvenience in regard to any addition or 
reduction of the labour force employed. 

Tapping begins when the trees have attained a girth 
of 1 8 inches at 3 feet from the base, and as a rule in 
Malaya this development occurs when they are about 
three and a half years of age. In three or four days 
after the first tapping of the trees the latex runs freely. 
The yield is not great during the first year of tapping, 
generally not more than J pound to J pound per tree, 
and the cost of collection is high. Provided the 
tapping is well done, with a single V at the base, no 
apparent damage is occasioned to the trees by begin- 
ning at this early age ; in fact, they appear to gain in 
girth when compared to trees left untapped. The 
latex, however, is undoubtedly inferior to latex from 
trees of more mature age. Throughout Malaya the 
Jebong or Burgess knife, a replica of the farrier's 
knife with very slight modifications, or the bent 
gouge, is preferred to any of the more modern im- 
plements. After tapping for two years with the 
single V on alternate sides, the tree is divided into 
quarters above the V tapping, and is then tapped on 
the half herring-bone system. This allows four years' 
time for the renovation of the bark, and in the opinion 
of practical planters this period is sufficient for the 



THE MALAY PENINSULA 215 

purpose. The cups used are glass, porcelain, aluminium 
or other metal, but the two former are preferable. 

By the end of the fourth year, when the estate is 
yielding evenly throughout, the planter will have 
thoroughly established his methods of work, and also 
his connections in Southern India for recruiting pur- 
poses, if he employs Tamil labour. Similarly, if he 
prefers Chinese or Javanese coolies, he will have made 
his arrangements in the proper quarters, and should 
have no serious difficulty in regard to his annual labour 
requirements. During the first four years of an estate, 
the bungalows, lines for coolies, factory and other 
buildings, should have been erected in accordance with 
the scale laid down in the estimate already given for 
the cost of opening up a plantation. The method of 
the curing and preparation of rubber is given under the 
description of factories, and need not be repeated. 

On estates averaging six to eight years old, a good 
tapper will look after 300 trees, tapping daily with 
three cuts to the tree, collecting the scrap, washing the 
cups, and delivering the latex and scrap at the factory. 
On some estates the average is 400 trees per day with 
three cuts. One estate averaged 420 trees with three 
cuts per tree. On the majority of estates daily tapping 
is the rule, but on quite a large number the trees are 
tapped on alternate days only. Many different opinions 
are expressed as to the class of labourer most suitable 
and efficient for tapping. On the estates equally good 
and bad tapping is done by Tamils, Javanese, Chinese, 
and Malays. The best work was invariably found where 
the most competent supervision existed, and it is safe 
to say that the general standard of tapping on an estate 



216 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

depends on the attention and care devoted to the 
superintendence of the work by the manager and his 
assistants. 

The Governments of the Straits Settlements and the 
Federated Malay States insist that housing accom- 
modation for estate labourers shall be provided in 
accordance with certain requirements in regard to space 
and elevation of floors above the ground. The usual 
type of lines now erected are built on brick pillars, with 
an open air space 4 feet high below the flooring. Steel 
or hard-wood framing is used, with galvanized iron or 
attap (palm leaf) thatch roofing. The sides are of 
galvanized iron or hard-wood, and a plank flooring is 
provided. As a rule a 6- foot veranda is constructed 
on both sides of the building. The rooms are generally 
12 feet by 10 feet, to accommodate four coolies, but on 
a few estates the size is 10 feet by 8 feet, and in these 
two coolies are housed. Proper drainage is necessary 
round the lines, and the regulations require that 
adequate latrines be erected. The cost of these 
barracks varies considerably, in accordance with the 
material employed in construction, but the price may 
be taken approximately at 100 to 150 dollars per room 
of 12 feet by 10 feet. 

Ample hospital accommodation is required, with 
separate wards for men and women, and equipped with 
dispensary, cook-house, and other necessary adjuncts. 
The wards are furnished with beds fitted with mosquito- 
nets, and supplied with all modern sanitary requirements. 

Bungalows on estates may be expensive or econo- 
mical, according to the ideas of the planter, but 
thoroughly serviceable plantation houses with accom- 



THE MALAY PENINSULA 217 

modation for two persons can be built at a cost of 
from 5,000 to 6,000 dollars, and these fulfil all require- 
ments on a young estate. 

On estates the standard of discipline depends on 
the tact and common-sense of the manager and his 
assistants. Tamils are tractable and give little trouble 
when justly treated ; Chinese are more difficult, and 
are best handled through their own headmen ; the 
same remark applies to Javanese. As a general rule 
there is very little serious trouble with estate labourers ; 
but recently the Chinese have been unsettled by the 
events taking place in their own country; they have 
shown a turbulent spirit on several estates and in 
various towns in the Malay Peninsula, and on several 
occasions the assistance of the military and the police 
has been necessary to quell disturbances. 

Rice forms the principal food of all classes of coolies 
working on estates in Malaya. In addition, the diet 
comprises dried fish, cocoanut-oil, curry stuffs, fruit, 
and vegetables. Meat of any kind is a luxury, and 
never an article of everyday use. Rice is supplied at 
cost price to all estate coolies, and below cost when 
prices are unduly high. 

There is no obligation on the part of the planter, and 
no efforts are made, to provide any sort of schools for 
the children of estate coolies. In the villages public 
schools have been established for native children taught 
in the vernacular, but none for those of Chinese or 
Indian parentage. 

It has been no easy task to obtain accurate returns 
of the yield per acre of rubber plantations, for the 
reason that on every estate the ages of trees vary, and 



218 



THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 



only in comparatively few instances have separate 
records been kept for different fields. Reliable data 
from twenty estates scattered throughout the Federated 
Malay States and the Straits Settlements enable the 
approximate yield to be defined. The returns show 



Age of Tree. 


No. of Acres. 


Yield per Acre. 


Years. 




Lb. 


4 to 5 


33i4 


188 


5 ,, 6 


5,266 


306 


6 7 


3.973 


349 


7 12 


7>438 


5oi* 



The only efficient method of calculating the yield is 
by dividing the production at each stage of development 
by the number of acres. It would be much more satis- 
factory if a larger acreage could be taken, but to secure 
this result nothing short of an estate-to-estate visitation 
would serve, and in the great majority of cases the 
inquiry would be barren of any useful result for lack of 
definite records on the different plantations. The cal- 
culations of yield now made are based on returns 
obtained from the following properties : 









Trees 


Yield 




Estates. 


Acres. 


Age. 


to 


per 


Locality. 








Acre. 


Acre. 












Lb. 






400 


4 


150 


ioO 






400 




ISO 


3 l6 




i. Wardieburn 


400 
400 


7, 


ISO 
150 


4 i4 
460 


Kuala Lumpur, 
Selangor 




IS 


si 


1 2O 


230 






15 


12 


130 


!>339; 





THE MALAY PENINSULA 



219 



Estates. 


Acres. 


Age. 


Trees 
to 

Acre. 


Yield 
per 
Acre. 


Locality. 






Yrs. 




Lb. 




r 


1,200 


4 


150 


IIO^ 




2. Kumendore -[ 


I,2OO 
I,2OO 




150 


2 3 ol 
320 | 


Malacca 


I 


I,2OO 


7 


I ^O 


47O./ 




3. Bernham, Perak 


135 


4 


2OO 


150 


Teluk Anson, Perak 


4. Nova Scotia ... 


1, 60O 




150 


273 





5. Changkat Salak 


300 


4 


150 


173 


Kuala Kangaar, 












Perak 


6. Kent 


8 9 


4^ 


150 


250 


Kuala Lumpur, 












Selangor 


7. Lauderdale 


300 
IOO 


41 f 


160 
180 


350! 
242 / 


Taiping, Perak 


8. Pegoh 


651 




150 


323 


Malacca 


9. Kamuning j 


600 


5- 




650! 


Sungei Siput, Perak 


10. Bukit Rajah .. 


I,2OO 


8; 


150 


650 


Klang, Selangor 


ii. Belmont 


700 


7 


150 


437 


Kajang, Selangor 


12. Vallambrosa .. 


*,5 1 7 


8 


J 5o 


39 1 


Klang, Selangor 


13. Linggi 


600 


8 


150 


520 


Seremban, Negri 












Sembilan 


14. Rubana 


1,100 


7i 


161 


563 


Teluk Anson, Perak 


15. Labu ... 


1,350 


6 


150 


437 


Labu, Negri Sem- 












bilan 


16. Cicely ... | 


139 
700 


ii 
Si 


150 


oo\ 
375J 


Teluk Anson, Perak 


17. Gedong 


2,000 


5 


{\So] 


3H 


,, 


18. TaliAyer 


I,O23 


6 


{161 


234 





19. Caledonia 


29 


ii 


240 


780 


Province Wellesley 


20. Caledonia 












(Krian) 


4OO 


7 


130 


375 


" 



The variation in the cost of production per pound of 
rubber has been very great during the past few years, 
as will be seen from the following returns : 



220 



THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 



COST OF PRODUCTION ON FORTY ESTATES IN 1909-10 

Furnished by Messrs. Kennedy and Co., Agents and Stockbrokers, Penang 



Company. 


Year. 


Crop 
Rubber : 
Lb. Dry. 


Inclusive Cost 
per Lb. 
(f.o.b.). 








s. d. 


Anglo-Malay 


1909 


5 J 7*55 


o 10-68 


Batu Caves ... 




45*769 


2 4'23 


Bukit Rajah 


1909-10 


314,778 


I 4*31 


Carey United 
Cicely 


j, 

,, 


107,194 
85,280 


I I'll 


Consolidated Malay 


1909 


215*893 


i ii'22 


Damansara ... 




202,440 


i 9'oo 


Federated Malay 


1909-10 


293,066 


2 0-68* 


Federated (Selangor) 


,, 


101,444 


i 4-41 


Golconda 


1909 


96,260 


i 10-54 


Golden Hope 




51,420 


i 4-91 


Highlands and Lowlands . . . 


w 


346,259 


i 1-03 


Inch Kenneth 


1909-10 


127,677 


2 2-36 


Jugra Estate 


M 


60,017 


2 438 


Kamuning 


M 


67,046 


I 6-41 


Kuala Lumpur 


,, 


489,807 


I 7-40 


Labu 


1909 


86,763 


2 072 


Lanadron ... 




249,247 


I 2*94 


Ledbury 


. 


66,881 


7 

2 376 


Linggi 




C4^ 2IO 


I 1-48 


London Asiatic 




75*427 


2 i'68 


Mabira Forest 




82,424 


"3 5'O3 


Malacca 




236,969 


2 O'2I 


North Hummock 


1909-10 


47*994 


I 676 


P. P. K 


1909 


45*474 


2 4'iS 


Pataling 





152,000 


I 0-62 


Perak 


1909-10 


H5*895 


I 2-19 


Sagga 




Af\ C^/l 


^ zL*2 


Seafield 


1909 


43*746 


2 3'l8 


Sekong 


1909-10 


41,178 


3 672 


Selangor 


1909 


326,654 


i 1-58 


Seremban 




124,021 


i 9-14 


Shelford ... 
Singapore Para 


1909-10 


33*097 
60,437 


2 7'6o 
i 777 


Straits (Bertam) 
Sumatra Para 


,, 
,, 


99,097 
122,248 


i 2-64 

2 073 


Sungei Kapar ' 


1909 


114,970 


i 6-16 


United Serdang 


1909-10 


67,828 


2 2'24 


Vallambrosa 


n 


371,316 


I 2-83 


Yam Seng 




4.0,0-27 


2 4'O7 






T"y*y? i 


" / 



* Francs 2.60. 



THE MALAY PENINSULA 221 

This shows an average cost of 22*17 pence per pound 
in 1909-10, as compared to 17*30 pence per pound in 
1911. 

To ascertain further the cost of production f.o.b. 
at Singapore, Penang, or Port Swettenham, the returns 
of twenty-two representative estates scattered throughout 
the Straits Settlements and the Federated Malay States 
are given. Careful investigation in connection with 
these estates shows that the proportionate adjustment 
of expenses has been made to revenue and capital 
accounts, although there is invariably an inclination to 
charge more to revenue and less to capital when any 
doubt exists on the subject. 

The average cost of production on the twenty-two 
estates selected was 17*30 pence in 1911-12 f.o.b. The 
distribution of these charges was approximately 

Cents. 

1. Collection 32* 

2. Curing and preparation 5t 

3. Weeding 6 

4. Cultivation and roads and drains ... 61 

5. Management 7$ 

6. Hospitals, etc 5J| 

7. Transport *5o 

8. Commissions '50 

9. Shipping charges '50 

10. Rent 2'oo 

11. Export duty or assessment 2-50 

Total 67-00 

(67 cents = 17-30 pence per pound of dry rubber.) 

* Includes cost of implements, cups, etc., and a proportion of 
depreciation on buildings. 

t Includes depreciation on machinery and factory. 
J Includes a proportion of depreciation on buildings. 
Includes depreciation on bungalows and all salaries. 
|| Includes salary of doctor and all expenses. 



222 



THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 



COSTS F.O.B. PORT SWETTENHAM, PENANG, OR SINGAPORE, 
1911-12 



Estates. 


Pence. 


Locality. 


I. London Asiatic 


16 


Malacca and Selangor 


2. Kamuning 


15 


Perak 




3. Anglo-Malay 




Selangor and 


Negri 






Sembilan 




4. Linggi 


14! 


Negri Sembilan 




5. Labu 


17^ 


11 




6. Kuala Lumpur 


20 


Selangor 




7. Pegoh 


22 


Malacca 




8. West Country 


19 


Selangor 




9. Ayer Panas 


21 


Malacca 




10. Kumendore 


16 


11 




ii. Bukit Rajah 


io 


Selangor 




12. Vallambrosa 


12 


11 




13. Cicely 


12 


Perak 




14. Changkat Salak 


15 







15. Nova Scotia 


2O 


11 




16. Lauderdale 


14 


11 




17. Gedong (Straits Rub- 








ber Company) 


14^ 


11 




1 8. Caledonia 


26 


11 




19. Rubana 


21* 






20. Tali Ayer 


16 






21. Batak Rabit 


20 


11 




22. Hai Kee 


25 


11 





The average from the foregoing figures is 17*30 pence 
per pound of rubber f.o.b. ; but for January and 
February, 1912, the costs at Gedong were at the rate 
of 38 cents per pound, equal to ii pence sterling, and 
several others show substantial decreases in 1913, while 
in very few instances are higher costs recorded than in 
1911-12. 

All practical planters are agreed that there will be a 
substantial reduction in costs when a larger acreage 
comes into bearing and trees average a greater age. 



THE MALAY PENINSULA 223 

Indeed, many experienced men are strongly of opinion 
that a marked decrease will take place in 1914. The 
minimum average cost for the next five years should 
not exceed i shilling (424 cents) per pound of rubber 
f.o.b., distributed as follows, and with the same con- 
ditions regarding depreciation, etc., as in 1911 : 

Cents. 

1. Collecting and tapping 20 

2. Curing and preparation for market 4 

3. Weeding 2 

4. Cultivation and roads and drains 2 

5. Management 5 

6. Hospital, etc 2 

7. Transport 4 

8. Commissions 4 

9. Shipping charges 4 

10. Rent i 

11. Contingencies 24 

12. Export duty or assessment 24 

Total 424 

(Equal to i shilling per pound of dry rubber f.o.b. 
Port Swettenham, Penang, or Singapore.) 

From the average cost of production and the estimate 
of ultimate minimum cost, it will be seen that the 
principal expenditure is for the collection of latex, 
weeding, and cultivation all items dependent on the 
wage rates. It has been pointed out that the cost of 
collection of latex should decrease rapidly as the 
trees become older and the yield greater. So, also, 
weeding will become cheaper as the trees give more 
shade; indeed, when the trees on an estate average 
eight years old, the cost of weeding should be reduced 
to, practically, a negligible quantity, as the work will 



224 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

consist only of a general cleaning up once or twice 
a year. Cultivation will remain to some extent a 
permanent charge, as pruning of trees, treatment of 
diseases, and manuring, will be necessary for old trees. 
The remaining items must be considered as permanent 
recurring charges, with the exception of the value of 
the export duty, which will vary with the fluctuations 
in the price of rubber. Of course, this refers only to 
estates worked on the principles in force to-day ; great 
amalgamations of plantation interests may be able to 
reduce expenditure to a much lower level. 

The present scale of charges from the Malay 
Peninsula to London or Liverpool, dating from January, 
1914, are shown in the following table. The freight 
under the last Shipping Convention is fixed at 
65 shillings for 50 cubic feet from Singapore, Penang, 
Port Swettenham, and all other ports. Commis- 
sions are calculated on the basis of an average selling 
value of 24 pence per pound, and would, of course, rise 
or fall with any fluctuation in prices. Previous to 
1914 the allowances for rebates and draft added about 
a penny to the present costs : 

Pence per Lb. 

1. Freight 070 

2. Brokerage 0-12 

3. Sale charges, insurance, storage, and sun- 

dries ... ... ... ... ... ... 0*50 

4. Merchants' commission 0*20 

Total rja 

Shipments to Antwerp work out slightly cheaper, on 
account of smaller commissions; similar conditions, 
though not quite to the same extent, occur in con- 
nection with Hamburg. 



THE MALAY PENINSULA 225 

The average cost per pound f.o.b. Malay Peninsula in 
1911-12 was 17*30 pence. The cost from port of ship- 
ment to London or Liverpool was 2*52 pence in 1913, 
and allowance must also be made for London and 
other headquarter office expenses, directors' fees, per- 
centage of preliminary expenses incurred in the forma- 
tion of companies, income-tax, and other items. In 
the circumstances it is safe to conclude that the total 
average cost of every pound of rubber sold in London 
during 1913 was not less than 20 pence sterling. 

That the cost of production in the immediate future 
will be substantially reduced may be regarded as 
assured. In the next three or four years the average cost 
f.o.b. in Malaya should not exceed i shilling per pound. 
A saving of i farthing per pound can be effected by 
shipping in Java mat bales in place of boxes, thus 
reducing cost of freight and packing. Taking these 
facts into consideration, the average cost per pound up 
to time of sale should not exceed 13*25 pence plus the 
London office charges for directors' fees, etc. 

In calculating future production, the most satisfactory 
method is to take the area under cultivation in 1912, 
650,000 acres, and allow for it a yield based on the 
average returns already given. In 1919 the trees com- 
prised in this acreage will be of an average age of from 
ten to eleven years. The average yield from 7,438 acres 
situated in different sections of Malaya, from trees of 
seven years upwards, was shown to be 50 1 pounds of 
rubber per acre. Taking the average yield of ten-year- 
old trees at 4 hundredweights per acre, the total yield 
in 1919 would be 130,000 tons. Young trees planted 
after 1912 will add considerably to the output, but it is 
15 



226 



THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 



safer to allow this extra yield to compensate for any 
shortage of sections that may from unforeseen circum- 
stances fall below the estimated ultimate average yield 
of 4 hundredweights to an acre. 

The following table gives the actual yield from 1906 
to 1913, and the estimated output from 1914 to 1919 : 

ACTUAL YIELD, 1906 TO 1913 



Year. 


Acreage under Tapping. 


Output in Tons. 


1906 


9,600 


fo 


1907 
1908 


IO,8oo 
24,300 


5 
9 


1909 


37400 


334> 


1910 


66,2OO 


6 >54 


1911 


95,800 


10,700 


1912 


l8o,OOO 


19,400 


1913 


241,000 


35.750 



ESTIMATED OUTPUT, 1914 TO 1919 



1914 


292,000 


43,800 


I9 r 5 


362,000 


63,300 


1916 


538,000 


80,700 


1917 


650,000 


97.5oo 


1918 


650,000 


H3.750 


1919 


650,000 


130,000 



The estimated return is calculated on the ages of 
trees in tapping, allowing 260 pounds per acre for trees 
averaging six years old, 336 pounds for seven-year-old 
trees, and 392 pounds for an average of eight years. 
For 1916 and 1917 only 336 pounds per acre is cal- 
culated, on account of the large proportion of young 
trees yielding for the first time ; in 1918 an average 
return of 392 pounds per acre is estimated for nine-year- 
old trees ; and in 1919 a yield of 448 pounds per acre is 



THE MALAY PENINSULA 227 

calculated for 650,000 acres averaging ten years of 
age. 

In another ten years the rubber estates will form, 
practically, a continuous forest from Penang to Singa- 
pore, and the natural inference is that this great area of 
rubber-trees will be treated as a forest proposition in 
place of being exploited in the shape of comparatively 
small estates, as is now the case. The principal motives 
for this change of system will be greater economy of 
administration and the necessity of standardizing 
methods of production. It is too soon to lay down the 
lines for this probable evolution of the industry, but 
there does not appear to be any insuperable difficulty in 
the direction of an amalgamation of existing interests 
on the basis of acreage or number of trees with a fair 
quota of the total output. The future of the industry 
would be more secure under the control of a great 
central corporation than can be the case if the numerous 
properties remain in the hands of individual owners. A 
pooling of interests does not mean a tendency towards 
depreciation ; indeed, the result of any such action 
would be, probably, to enhance values to a substantial 
extent. 



CHAPTER XVI 
THE NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES : SUMATRA 

Principal rubber-producing districts Extension of the rubber 
plantations Available lands for new plantations Land tenure 
Freedom from taxation Altitude of rubber estates Character- 
istic features of the soil Meteorological conditions How the 
rubber industry originated Custom of planting catch crops 
General health of the rubber-trees Value of rubber plantations 
Cost of opening, equipping, and maintaining, an estate of 1,000 
acres Maintenance of an estate six years old. 

UNTIL 1890 the development of the eastern section 
of Sumatra was confined to a comparatively nar- 
row strip of land adjoining the seaboard in the provinces 
of Deli and Asahan. Previous to that year active 
military operations were constantly in progress between 
the Dutch troops and the followers of the Sultan of 
Acheen, and even the comparatively settled districts 
near the sea-coast were not infrequently subjected to 
raids made by the hostile tribes of the country in the 
interior of the island. Under these circumstances 
access to the inland districts was forbidden by the 
authorities until 1899, and for some years after that 
date permission was only granted with a chary hand. 
The first section of the island to enjoy settled conditions 
was the province of Deli ; this soon became the centre 
of a most profitable tobacco-planting industry, which 
has developed to important proportions during the past 
twenty years. At a later period Liberian coffee planta- 

228 



THE NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES 229 

tions were established at various points on the east 
coast, and extending as far as the valley of the River 
Bila. Liberian coffee has now given place to rubber, 
cultivated in many cases in conjunction with Robusta 
coffee ; but this latter product as a general rule is only 
grown as a catch crop, and it will disappear as the 
rubber-trees approach maturity. From Belawa, the 
port for the city of Medan, to Penang is only a journey 
of some eight hours by coasting steamer, and constant 
communication is maintained between the two places. 
Belawa is connected with Medan by railway, the dis- 
tance of twenty miles occupying less than an hour in 
transit. 

The principal rubber-growing districts of Sumatra 
lie on the east coast of the island, and include the dis- 
tricts of Lankat, Deli, Serdang, Padang, Batoe-Bahra, 
Asahan, and Bila. A few estates have been opened in 
other sections of the country, but difficulties of trans- 
port have prevented any extensive cultivation outside 
the districts mentioned. Roads and railways are in 
course of construction, or projected, to link up the 
existing planted areas and to give access to forest lands 
hitherto lying idle ; but some years must elapse before 
these undertakings materialize, for the Dutch Colonial 
Government is slow to move in such matters, and re- 
quires very substantial proof of the necessity and 
financial value of such enterprises before becoming in 
any way responsible for them. It is for this reason 
that the rubber-planting industry has been practically 
confined hitherto within the districts where coffee and 
tobacco estates were established many years ago and 
transport already existed, or to certain sections along 



230 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

the Bila River where communication by water is avail- 
able. 

Statistics regarding the extent of cultivated rubber in 
Sumatra vary considerably, and no official return is 
made of acreage or number of trees. A handbook pub- 
lished in Medan estimates the area at 126,000 acres in 
1911, but qualifies this by stating that details of many 
plantations are omitted. A census furnished by the 
Nederlandsche Handel Maatschappij gives the number 
of trees in 1911 as 16,733,470, or approximately 
167,000 acres. 

The Secretary of the Planters' Association of Sumatra 
stated that the returns for 1911, on which subscriptions 
were based, showed about 145,000 acres under cultiva- 
tion, but that these did not include isolated estates on 
the west coast or any Chinese or Malayan holdings. 
In the circumstances the returns of the Nederlandsche 
Handel Maatschappij must be accepted as much the 
most reliable, on account of the facilities of that very 
important corporation for acquiring accurate infor- 
mation ; therefore, the estimate of 167,000 acres may 
be taken as a conservative calculation of the area under 
cultivation in December, 1911. The area planted 
during 1912 was not less than 60,000 acres ; of this 
area 55,000 acres lie in the districts on the east coast, 
and 5,000 in the south-eastern and western sections of 
the island. Many planters insist that this figure of 
60,000 acres for 1912 is too low, but confirmation as to 
any greater area is not forthcoming. In 1913 an 
additional 10,000 acres was placed under cultivation. 

The following table shows the expansion of the 
rubber-planting industry during the past eight years : 



THE NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES 231 



Year. 


Area under Cultivation. 


Increase in Acres. 


1906 


6,140 





1907 


20,150 


14,010 


1908 


38,800 


19,650 


1909 


67,000 


28,200 


1910* 
1911* 


100,000 

167,000 


33,000 
67,000 


1912* 


227,000 


60,000 


1913 


237,000 


10,000 



The ficus-trees, of which 351,000 were planted pre- 
vious to 1909, are not included in the above figures, as 
they are being gradually cut out on the majority of the 
estates. The holdings of Malays and Chinese settlers 
are numerous, but are of limited extent, and in the 
aggregate are only a small proportion of the total 
acreage. 

During the last five years the tendency has been to 
open larger plantations than formerly, a notable case in 
point being the Holland-American Company at Asahan, 
where 30,000 acres have been planted in the last four 
years, and further extensions are contemplated to bring 
the total area under cultivation to 50,000 acres. 

The amount of land available for the extension of 
rubber-planting in Sumatra must be counted by millions 
of acres, for two-thirds of the island remain untouched 
to-day. Other considerations, however, besides suit- 
able land must play a most important part in the 
future development of the industry. The question of 
the labour-supply enters largely into the problem ; 
although at present no complaint is heard of any 

* Shows effect of rubber boom of 1910-11. 



232 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

scarcity on the estates, the demand will be increased 
substantially as the existing young plantations reach 
the tapping stage. Then, again, means of communica- 
tion require additions and improvements before the 
necessary foreign capital will be attracted for the exten- 
sion of the industry to the forest lands of the interior. 
It is more probable that expansion in the near future 
will take place along the banks of navigable rivers, or 
in the localities hitherto reserved for growing tobacco, 
and it is in this latter direction that a rapid develop- 
ment is possible. For many years Deli has been the 
centre of the tobacco industry, and to the east and west 
of that district an area of some 400,000 acres has been 
devoted to the cultivation of that product. After 
one or at most two crops have been gathered, the land 
is allowed to lie fallow for seven years before replant- 
ing, and therefore 400,000 acres in reality only means 
some 60,000 acres of cultivation. It is easy to plant 
rubber-trees after the tobacco crop is harvested, and 
practically no further expense is involved, beyond keep- 
ing the land clean, to allow the trees to come to 
maturity. If any substantial drop in the value of 
tobacco occurs, there is small doubt that a very con- 
siderable portion of these tobacco lands will be con- 
verted into rubber estates. 

Land is held in Sumatra under long leases from the 
native Sultans, these concessions requiring the approval 
of the Dutch Colonial Authorities. As a rule the 
contracts are for not less than fifty, and not exceeding 
one hundred, years. The rental varies, but is generally 
at the rate of i guilder (20 pence sterling) for each bouw, 
equal to if English acres. These land grants comprised 



THE NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES 233 

a large acreage when they were obtained for tobacco- 
growing, on account of the necessity of fallowing the 
land for seven years before replanting ; and this resulted 
in the alienation of practically all the territory on the 
east coast of Sumatra between the seaboard and the foot- 
hills of the mountain ranges in the Lankat districts 
on the west to Asahan on the east. 

No direct taxation is imposed on the rubber industry, 
and to assist the planters the Colonial Government 
has promised that no export duty should be levied on 
the raw material in the immediate future. It is the 
general opinion, however, that this condition will be 
revised before many years have elapsed, and that an 
export duty will be collected. The general revenue of 
the colony is derived from a 12 per cent, duty on all 
imported merchandise, a 4 per cent, income-tax, and 
from various municipal and local charges. 

The rubber estates are situated at elevations of from 
3 to 4 feet above sea-level to a height of not more than 
1 20 feet at the foot-hills of the mountain ranges. The 
former elevation covers the fiat lands near the banks of 
navigable rivers, such as the Bila, and certain sections 
of the tobacco districts, the latter those of the undu- 
lating country stretching up to the mountains. 

There are three distinct varieties of soil in the rubber 
districts of Sumatra : 

(i) A black, friable topsoil mixed with sand over- 
lying a strong clay subsoil, forming the low-lying lands 
adjoining the larger rivers; (2) a black, friable topsoil 
mixed with sand on a subsoil of clay and sand, found 
chiefly in the tobacco districts ; (3) a friable, chocolate 
topsoil on a hard laterite subsoil, these latter charac- 



234 



THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 



teristic features extending over the undulating lands 
reaching to the foot-hills of the mountain ranges. In 
Nos. i and 2 the water is near the surface, extensive 
drainage is necessary, and the root growth of the trees 
is principally lateral, the tap-root not penetrating below 
the water-level. On the laterite soils the tap-root 
penetrates to great depth, frequently as much below- 
ground as the height of the tree is above the surface. 
Intelligent appreciation, amongst planters, of this radical 
difference of root growth is lacking, and no allowance 
or consideration is given to it when laying out estates. 
Trees are planted the same distance apart on high 
lands, where a deep tap-root develops, as on low lands, 
where the tap-root disappears, and its place is taken by 
abnormal lateral growth. The trees develop rapidly 
on both low or high lands ; but on the former they are 
specially liable to serious damage from the severe 
storms which constantly occur on the east coast of 
Sumatra, and at times reach hurricane force. 

The rainfall on the East Coast varies considerably ; 
it is controlled to a great extent by the high mountain 
ranges intersecting the whole length of the island. The 
following records for 19 n give a general idea of the 
precipitation of moisture in different districts : 



Place. 


District. 


Rainfall in Inches. 


i. Medan ... 


Deli 


79 


2. Soengei Poetih 


Serdang 


93 


3. Soengei Roean 


Lankat 


117 


4. Soengei Gerpa 
5. Tanah Besih 
6. Lima Poeloeh 


i Lankat 
Padang (Tebing-Tinggi) 
Batoe-Bahra 


119 
109 
Q4 


7. Telok Dalam 


Asahan 

l 


108 



THE NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES 235 

The temperature varies very slightly throughout the 
rubber districts, as is shown by the following observa- 
tions, taken in March, 1912 : 







Degrees Fahrenheit. 


Place. 


District. 


Maximum. 


Minimum. 


i. Medan 


Deli 


94 


71 


2. Soengei Poetih ... 
3. Soengei Gerpa ... 


Serdang 
Lankat 


92 
93 


70 

68 


4. Tanah Besih 


Padang 


90 


69 


5. Telok Dalam 


Asahan 


92 


68 


6. Tandjong Balei ... 
7. Bila 


Asahan 
Laboean Bilik 


95 
93 


7 
71 



The origin of the Sumatra rubber industry was the 
severe depression in the price of coffee some twelve 
years ago, due to the large increase in the Brazilian 
output. A small area of rubber had been planted 
previous to that period in the vicinity of the Bila River, 
and it was known, therefore, that Hevea Brasiliensis 
thrived on the east coast. The planters, looking for a 
new product to take the place of coffee, were encouraged 
to grow Para rubber by the successful results obtained 
in the Malay Peninsula, and gradually the area culti- 
vated with coffee was interplanted with trees grown 
from seed imported from Vallambrosa and other well- 
known estates in Malaya. The cultivation was fostered 
by the Colonial Government, and promises were given 
of freedom from internal taxation and export duty. 
Following the lead of the coffee planters, a certain 
number of tobacco growers also turned their attention 
to rubber, and gave for that purpose a portion of the 



236 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

lands already under cultivation. In 1909, when abnormal 
prices for rubber were realized, large sums were sub- 
scribed for opening up estates in Sumatra, and forest 
lands, as well as old estates, were cleared and planted, 
until from an area of 38,000 acres in 1908 the cultiva- 
tion in 1913 has reached 237,000 acres. 

On the majority of the older estates in Sumatra the 
rubber has been grown amongst other cultivations, and 
many of the younger plantations are now planted with 
Robusta coffee as a catch crop. There is not the 
smallest doubt that the Para trees planted amongst 
Liberian coffee have suffered severely in the past as 
regards development, and in some cases this damage is 
permanent. For the first two years the shade of the 
Liberian coffee shuts out light and air from the young 
trees, and the detrimental result is everywhere seen in 
the uneven growth, plantations of five and six years old 
often not tapping more than 50 per cent, of the trees. 
Another product ^equally harmful is rice of the dry 
land variety, which is frequently grown ; it only stands 
to reason that a crop yielding 1,500 pounds of grain 
and a large amount of straw to the acre must be harm- 
ful to a plantation of young trees. Tobacco also has 
been tried as a catch crop, but is universally condemned. 
Robusta coffee, apparently, is the only product that can 
be grown in conjunction with Para rubber without any 
serious prejudicial effect, so far as present experience 
goes. It certainly retards the growth to some slight 
extent ; but the rubber-trees are not shut out from air and 
sun, and amazing returns of 10 and 12, and even 15 hun- 
dredweights to the acre are harvested when the bushes 
are two and a half to three years of age. At the present 



THE NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES 237 

time this coffee is selling at 50 shillings per hundred- 
weight, and at this price the temptation is certainly 
very great to pick two or three crops before cutting it 
out from the lines of rubber-trees. This is especially 
the case when old coffee machinery exists on an estate, 
and can be utilized for preparing the Robusta coffee for 
the market. 

In spite of the fact that many trees on the older 
estates are stunted in development owing to inter- 
planting with Liberian coffee and other crops, the 
general condition of the plantations is distinctly good. 
There is very little fames in evidence, and small damage 
has been done by white ants ; this is due, in great 
measure, to the fact that the land is exceptionally clear 
of decaying timber and roots, on account of its former 
cultivation for coffee and tobacco. In new clearings 
also, the general rule, however, is an absence of pests. 
Many estates show the effect of strong prevailing winds, 
and a considerable proportion of trees of two and three 
years of age were so bent over at two or three feet from 
the ground as to interfere seriously with tapping opera- 
tions. Many managers in Sumatra without experience 
in planting rubber quite failed to grasp the importance 
of straight-stemmed trees on an estate. In spite of 
the defects alluded to, the general development on 
young plantations is fair, and the growth, especially in 
sheltered situations, quite equal to, if not more rapid 
than, that of Malaya. The trees suffer from nodules 
in the bark in the same manner as in the Malay Penin- 
sula and Ceylon. 

To calculate the value of rubber plantations in 
Sumatra, it is necessary to divide them into five groups : 



238 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

1. Those consisting of the old Liberian coffee 
estates interplanted with Para rubber, and from which 
the coffee-trees are now rapidly disappearing. 

2. The small area planted some twelve years ago 
on low-lying forest lands and cultivated without catch 
crops. 

3. The various tobacco plantations converted into 
rubber estates. 

4. Plantations opened since 1909 on undulating 
forest lands and cultivated without catch crops. 

5. Recently-opened estates interplanted with catch 
crops of Robusta coffee in order to defray the cost of 
bringing the rubber-trees to the tapping stage. 

In group No. i there is practically no capital cost, 
although it is customary to estimate expenditure at 
the rate 25 per acre ; the coffee has paid the expenses 
of cultivation until the rubber-trees have become self- 
supporting, but the result is an uneven development of 
the trees adding greatly to the cost of collecting 
the latex. No. 2 has given satisfactory results as 
regards growth, but the area is so small that it does 
not affect the aggregate production to any appreci- 
able extent. No. 3 has proved both successful and 
economical to bring into bearing, but these advantages 
are counterbalanced by high prices paid for the lands. 
No. 4 is only now beginning to give returns, but 
promises well as to growth and is remarkably healthy 
in appearance. No. 5 is in a satisfactory state so 
far, but it is too soon to say what the final result of 
interplanting with Robusta coffee will be in regard to 
the development of the young trees, and as to whether 
the immediate financial gain from two or three heavy 



THE NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES 239 

coffee crops will compensate for the damage such crop- 
ping may do in the direction of exhausting the soil. 
Approximately the area of these different groups is 

Acres. 
No. i ......... ...... 47,ooo 

* 2 .................. 3,000 

3 .................. 100,000 

,, 4 .................. 20,000 

5 .................. 



Total ...... 237,000 

The immediate effect of the rubber boom of 1909-10 
was to increase the area under cultivation by more 
than 100 per cent. In 1909 the rubber estates covered 
100,000 acres ; in 1912 the area planted was 227,000. 
The total capital invested in the enterprise by public 
companies and private individuals at the beginning of 
1912 was 



1. British 5,068,000 

2. Dutch 3,552,000 

3. Belgian 35>ooo 

4. United States 800,000 

5. German 72,000 

6. Hong-Kong 40,000 

7. Shanghai 25,000 

8. Private enterprise 513,000 

Total 10,420,000 

This capital value must be divided into the amount 
represented by estates established on conservative lines 
and those created as the outcome of the boom. In the 
former case the cost of bringing a plantation to the 
bearing stage may be taken at 25 per acre, as will be 
shown in detail later on. Under the latter circum- 
stances the capitalization is out of all relation to the 



240 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

actual necessary expense for the establishment of 
estates. The area of plantations existing on a conserva- 
tive basis is approximately 100,000 acres, and that 
affected by the " boom " about 120,000 acres. There- 
fore the position may be summed up briefly as 



Area. 


Capitalization. 


Cost per Acre. 


AcreC 
IOO,OOO 
I2O,OOO 




2,500,000 
7,920,000 




8 



It is evident that the concerns capitalized under the 
" boom " conditions at an average cost of 66 per acre 
must suffer severely when increased supplies throughout 
the world bring the value of rubber down to the actual 
cost of production plus a fair profit, say 15 per cent., to 
the producer. In any consideration of this subject, the 
essential factors to remember always are that the 
reserve of land available for rubber cultivation in 
Sumatra and elsewhere is practically unlimited; that 
new plantations begin to yield in the fourth year ; and 
that the present condition of the labour-supply in the 
East offers no serious obstacle to the extension of the 
industry. 

The estimated cost of opening a rubber plantation of 
1,000 acres on forest land situated at 50 feet above sea- 
level includes all necessary charges up to the end of 
the fourth year, when the yield should be sufficient to 
allow the capital account to be closed. Allowance is 
made for the cost of obtaining a grant of 1,000 bouws 
of land (1,750 acres) in order to hold a reserve available 
for future extensions. Felling and cleaning up after 



THE NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES 241 

the timber is burnt can be done by contract ; but con- 
stant delays occur in Sumatra owing to the unpunc- 
tuality of the native contractors in regard to work, and 
it is more satisfactory to employ daily labour for these 
preliminary operations, although the expense is slightly 
higher. No allowance is made for the removal of the 
stumps of big trees or the destruction of the large logs ; 
the majority of practical planters do not consider such 
expenditure justified by results, and they prefer to keep 
a keen watch for any appearance of fomes, white ants, 
or other pests, and to deal with each case as it occurs. 
The subjoined estimate of the distribution of costs 
explains itself; it is slightly lower in sterling value 
than similar work in the Malay Peninsula, but this is 
due to the lesser value of the Dutch guilder as com- 
pared to the Straits dollar : 

Guilders. 

1. Expenses of land grant of 1,000 bouws, 

survey fees, etc 7,000 

2. Rent, 1,000 bouws (1,750 acres), i guilder 

per bouw per annum for four years ... 4,000 

3. Felling, clearing, and burning 1,000 acres 23,000 

4. Cleaning up 1,000 acres 7,000 

5. Weeding : first nine months, 18,000 

guilders ; second year, 12,000 guilders ; 
third year, 9,000 guilders ; fourth year, 

5,000 guilders 44,000 

6. Draining ... ... ... ... ... 4,000 

7. Roads and bridges 8,000 

8. Lining, holing, and filling 2,000 

9. Planting and supplying 2,000 

10. Nurseries or plants 2,000 

11. Manager's bungalow, 6,500 guilders; 

assistant's bungalow, 4,500 guilders ... 11,000 

12. Factory and machinery 30,000 

13. Lines for coolies : 100 rooms, 10 feet by 

12 feet, at 150 guilders per room ... 15,000 

Carried forward 159,000 

16 



242 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

Guilders. 
Brought forward 159,000 

14. Tools, etc 10,000 

15. Management 50,000 

16. Hospital, medicines, attendance, etc. ... 15,000 

17. Cost of importing 300 coolies : first three 

years 31,500 

Cost of importing 400 coolies : fourth 

year 14,000* 

1 8. Contingencies 11,500 

Total 291,000 

This sum of 291,000 guilders is equal to 24,250 
sterling, or 24 53. for each acre brought into bearing. 
Between the fourth and fifth year the estate should be 
self-supporting. 

The yearly cost of maintaining in first-class order an 
estate of 1,000 acres with a forest reserve of 750 acres 
should not exceed the following estimate : 

Guilders. 

1. Rent 1,000 

2. Tapping and collecting (including de- 

preciation on cups and implements) ... 65,000 

3. Curing and preparation (including 20 

per cent, depreciation on factory and 
machinery 12,500 

4. Transport, shipping charges, and com- 

mission 5,ooo 

5. Management (allows for manager, two 

assistants, and two clerks) 17,500 

6. Hospital and medical attendance ... 5,000 

7. Weeding 7,5oo 

8. Maintenance of roads and drains ... 5,000 

9. Cultivation 5,ooo 

10. Contingencies 6,500 

u. Depreciation of buildings other than 

factory 7,500 

Total 137,500 

* Proportion of cost of three years' contract. 



THE NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES 243 

This sum of 137,500 guilders is equal to 11,458 
sterling. With an average crop of 250 pounds of 
rubber to an acre containing 108 trees, the cost per 
pound f .o.b. Sumatra works out at n pence sterling. It 
is understood that the amount allocated to hospital and 
medical attendance is for a share in a central hospital 
in combination with two or three other estates. If a 
separate hospital is maintained this charge would be 
doubled. 

The yield per acre should show a steady increase as 
the trees grow older, and the cost of collection, curing, 
weeding, management, and maintenance of roads and 
drains, will be proportionately reduced per pound of 
rubber. 

In addition to the expenditure already set out, the 
charges from Sumatra to date of sale in Europe come to 
i '60 pence per pound with rubber selling at 2 shillings per 
pound. Therefore the total cost up to date of sale would 
be 12*60 pence sterling, leaving a net profit of 11*40 
pence per pound of rubber. A well-cared-for plantation 
planted with 108 trees to the acre will certainly yield 
250 pounds per acre between six and seven years of 
age. Under these conditions, a crop of 250,000 pounds 
from 1,000 acres will leave a clear profit of 11,875 
sterling with the average price of rubber at 24 pence 
per pound. A fall in the value would automatically 
reduce the European charges for commissions. 

This lower cost of production in Sumatra as com- 
pared to Malay is accounted for by (i) the smaller 
value of the monetary unit, and (2) the absence of any 
export duty or direct taxation on the industry. 



CHAPTER XVII 

THE NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES: 

SUMATRA Continued 

Spacing of rubber-trees Plantation management Establish- 
ment of rubber factories The labour-supply Hours of work 
and rate of wages Maintenance of labourers Chinese coolies 
No necessity for skilled labour Sanitary conditions and medical 
supervision Organization of plantations Catch crops Tapping 
Plantation buildings Maintenance of discipline Approximate 
yield of trees Average cost of production Analysis of costs 
Costs after shipment Average cost per pound of rubber sold 
Exports of rubber since 1906, and estimate of future production. 

THE proximity of Sumatra to the principal centres 
of the rubber industry of the Malay Peninsula has 
been an important factor in the development of the 
plantations of the east coast. The example of the 
methods employed in the Federated Malay States has 
saved many errors in Sumatra, and would have effected 
even greater benefit in this direction if less antipathy 
existed on the part of the Dutch planters towards 
British nationality ; it is difficult to explain this attitude, 
for it is not in evidence on the part of the British 
planters, who have shown no hesitation in furnishing 
any information requested in connection with general 
plantation work. A substantial benefit derived by the 
geographical position of Sumatra was the facility for 
obtaining rubber seed and plants from the Malay 
estates, thus overcoming what would have been a 
most serious and costly difficulty at the outset of the 

244 



THE NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES 245 

industry if the need had existed for importation from 
Ceylon. The nearness of Penang and Singapore has 
also been of great advantage, obviating many of the 
difficulties of transport that would otherwise have 
handicapped the pioneers of the industry. In the 
matter of the construction and equipment of factories 
for rubber plantations, the experiences of the Malay 
Peninsula have been an invaluable guide for the 
Sumatra estates. 

The most satisfactory distance apart for planting 
rubber-trees in Sumatra is now generally accepted as 
20 feet by 20 feet, and the majority of the estates 
opened up during the last five years have followed that 
rule. In view of the rapid growth of the trees, this 
distance is certainly not too great, but still it gives 
ample room for expansion during the first ten years' 
development. This spacing gives 108 trees to the acre. 

The expansion of the rubber industry in Sumatra is 
of such recent date that the number of experienced 
planters in the country is not large. Naturally, the 
ranks have been recruited from the coffee and tobacco 
planters, and these men, accustomed to plantation work, 
are rapidly acquiring a useful knowledge of rubber 
cultivation. The majority of the managers and 
assistants are of Dutch or Swiss nationality; a few 
Englishmen are scattered through the planting districts, 
but the number is extremely limited. The demand for 
both managers and assistants in the Malay Peninsula 
has been so great of late years that few men from 
that community have cared to take up plantation 
work in Sumatra under the Dutch flag; and so 
it happens that, although many estates in Sumatra 



246 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

are owned by British companies, and more than half 
the capital invested is of British origin, the work is 
superintended by Dutch or Swiss representatives, with 
very few exceptions. Probably the fact that fixed 
salaries are 40 per cent, lower in Sumatra accounts 
for this to some extent ; on the other hand, a liberal 
bonus based on profits is customary. The system of 
plantation management and accounts in vogue in 
Ceylon and Malaya is gradually being introduced on all 
rubber estates, and will become universally established 
in the course of the next two or three years. 

The erection of factories has been pushed forward 
rapidly on the many young estates where tapping has 
commenced. They are constructed on the model of 
those working in Malay and Ceylon, and therefore no 
need exists for a repetition of the description already 
given in connection with those two countries. The 
same machinery and the same methods are employed 
in the curing and preparation of the rubber. One 
point, however, merits notice. Attention has been 
attracted to a new process for preparing the latex, and, 
if successful, it will undoubtedly be adopted extensively. 
It is the invention of a Swiss, Mr. Freudweiler, the 
manager of the Sennah estates. The principle is to 
coagulate and dry the latex by means of hot smoke 
charged with carbonic acid gas, and without washing 
or creping or using any acids. Briefly described, the 
method is to pass the latex from a receiving tank 
through fine sieves into a secondary tank, the latter 
overflowing into three smaller settling basins. From 
the last of these the latex falls gradually on to a wheel 
of some 15 feet in diameter, fitted with a 15-inch 



a 




248 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

receiving flange. This wheel revolves at slow speed 
inside a casing, into which hot dry smoke is forced from 
below and drawn away at the top by an exhaust fan. 
The flange of the wheel is fitted with rills at every 3 or 
4 feet, and a knife-edged arm works over the surface 
to keep the latex spread at uniform thickness. The 
invention has been tested in Europe, and declared to be 
efficient so far as the working model is concerned, and 
a full-sized machine was ordered to be in actual use in 
1913. It was to be installed on the Sennah Company's 
estates, and a thoroughly practical trial made of its 
capabilities, but up to the present nothing definite as 
to results has been made public. 

The majority of the labourers on the Sumatra rubber 
plantations are natives of Java. They are recruited 
through agents at a cost, at present, of not less than 
1 20 guilders per coolie, 15 guilders only of this sum 
being recoverable from the wages paid. Both men and 
women are indentured for a term of three years, and 
at the end of the contract they are entitled to a free 
passage to their homes. Government inspectors visit 
the estates from time to time, to see that the regulations 
in regard to housing and general treatment are carried 
out by the employers. 

The hours of work are nine hours per day, beginning 
about 6.30 a.m., and with an interval of two hours at 
noon. Work is compulsory on six days in the week, 
and optional on the seventh. On a large number of the 
estates the bulk of the work is by task which can be 
finished by an industrious coolie by 2 p.m., and he then 
has the remainder of the day to himself. This system 
of tasks extends to all branches of ordinary labour on 



THE NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES 249 

an estate, including tapping and collecting, weeding, 
road-making, cutting drains, and hoeing. On the 
majority of the plantations the managers express 
themselves satisfied with the work done by the 
Javanese. 

The rate of wages paid to indentured Javanese is 
33 cents a day for men and 28 cents for women under 
the contract, but on some plantations a higher wage is 
given voluntarily to expert tappers. 

When the three years' contract expires, a large number 
of the coolies prefer to remain on the estates instead of 
returning to Java. To such men as elect to follow this 
course a wage of 40 cents per diem is given, but the 
women continue to receive only 28 cents per day. 

Rice is supplied by the employers at cost price, but 
no other food. On most estates a store is established 
and rented out to Chinamen, subject to certain restric- 
tions in regard to prices on goods sold to the coolies. 
This is a necessary prevision when the estate is at any 
great distance from any village, for the labourers require 
dried fish, cocoanut-oil, curry stuffs, fruit, vegetables, 
and many other articles. Fresh fish, when obtainable, 
forms a part of the regular diet, but meat, except pork, 
is rarely eaten. 

Chinese coolies are also employed on many estates. 
They are recruited in China through agents, and in- 
dentured to serve for one year, or, excepting holidays, 
for 300 days. The cost of introduction at present is 
85 guilders per head, no part of which is recoverable. 
The wages rate for these indentured Chinese is 33 cents 
per diem. They do fairly satisfactory work, but, owing 
to the heavy preliminary cost and the short term of 



250 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

contract service, they prove much more expensive than 
the Javanese. 

Free Chinese labourers are also employed on the 
plantations. For these the usual wage is from 50 to 60 
cents per diem, but in some cases as much as a 
guilder a day is paid when their services are urgently 
needed. 

The Malay population in Sumatra rarely work as day 
labourers on the estates, although occasionally they take 
contracts for felling and clearing forest lands. 

At present there is no scarcity of labour on the east 
coast of Sumatra so far as the principal rubber and 
tobacco districts are concerned, but the demand will 
increase greatly as tapping becomes more general. 

The only skilled work required from estate coolies is 
for tapping and factory work, and any fairly intelligent 
labourer becomes proficient at both in a very short time 
under careful supervision. On many estates in Sumatra 
quite as good tapping is done by Javanese as any ac- 
complished in Malaya by Indians or Chinese, and the 
same remark applies to the work in the factories. 

Throughout the east coast of Sumatra the health 
conditions are exceptionally good. There is, compara- 
tively speaking, very little malarial fever or dysentery, 
and the parade of coolies for the daily muster seldom 
shows a greater proportion than 2 to 3 per cent, 
on the sick list. Sanitary regulations are enforced 
by the Dutch Colonial Government, and properly- 
equipped hospitals are maintained for all estates. The 
large plantations each have their hospital and resident 
doctor ; the smaller estates, when possible, combine to 
establish a central hospital for the use of three or four 



THE NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES 251 

plantations, in order to reduce the cost of accommoda- 
tion and medical attendance. 

The organization of a rubber estate in Sumatra pre- 
sents no exceptional difficulty. A grant of suitable 
land must be secured from the Sultan of the district, 
and this concession must be ratified by the Dutch 
Assistant Resident. Arrangements are then made with 
agents to secure the requisite number of Javanese or 
Chinese coolies, and lines are erected to house the 
labourers on arrival. Felling and clearing are com- 
menced immediately and, probably, a portion of this 
work is given out to Malay contractors. As soon as 
the land is cleaned up after the de"bris of the timber 
has been burnt, the work of lining and holing at once 
begins. The planter will probably follow the custom of 
the last five years, and cut holes 20 feet apart. When 
holing is finished the work of filling takes place, and 
planting commences as soon as the weather is favourable. 

If nurseries have not been formed, plants or stumps 
can be purchased at prices of from 15 to 18 guilders 
per 1,000. Many planters prefer planting seeds at 
stake, and on several estates this method has given 
excellent results. Weeding should commence imme- 
diately the land is cleaned after the burn ; if this work 
is thoroughly carried out, the estate will be free of 
weeds at the end of the first year, and monthly weeding 
can then be established at a low cost. Roads should be 
made at the time the holes are cut, and, if any draining 
is necessary, that work should have been taken in hand 
simultaneously with the road-making. 

During the first year arrangements must be completed 
for the construction of bungalows and other necessary 



252 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

buildings. Beyond this work and the weeding there is 
little to be done after the estate is planted, until the end 
of the third year, except to supply fresh plants where 
those originally set out have died or been damaged, and 
to keep a vigilant watch for the appearance of disease, 
white ants, or other pests. In the third year prepara- 
tions should be made for the erection of the factory, and 
an appropriate site selected. This work should be 
completed in the course of the fourth year, when a 
census of the trees must be taken and those of sufficient 
girth marked for tapping. The tapping begins when the 
trees measure 16 to 18 inches in circumference at 3 feet 
from the ground. 

If a catch crop of Robusta coffee is grown, more work 
is entailed. The bushes give a first crop when two and a 
half years old, and the question of setting up the neces- 
sary machinery and appliances for curing and prepara- 
tion for the market has to be considered. The coffee 
buildings are so erected that they can be converted into 
a rubber factory at small expense when the shade from 
the rubber-trees causes the further cultivation of coffee 
to be abandoned. 

However tempting a catch crop of coffee may appear 
to be, it must not be forgotten that it entails certain 
detrimental effects to young rubber. Whenever such a 
crop is cultivated, the result under most favourable cir- 
cumstances leads to an irregular growth of the rubber- 
trees ; this means that, in place of tapping 70 per cent, 
of the trees in the fourth year, only some 30 to 40 per 
cent, will be available. The outcome is extra expense 
in tapping and collecting, and also a reduced yield 
during the fourth and fifth years. 



THE NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES 253 

The system of tapping in Sumatra is copied from 
that practised in the Malay Peninsula and Ceylon, and 
has been fully described in connection with the industry 
of those countries. 

The buildings on Sumatra rubber estates are similar 
to those in use in Malaya ; but hard-wood frames and 
thatched roofing are the general rule, and only in very 
few cases does one meet with steel frames and galvanized 
iron roofing. The principal difference is in the expense 
of construction, those in Sumatra costing the same 
number of guilders of 20 pence as the Malayan in 
dollars of 28 pence. 

The standard of discipline varies on plantations. On 
some estates no complaints are made by the managers ; 
but on others the reverse is the case, and much bitter 
sentiment is expressed in connection with the attitude 
of the Colonial Government. The pith of the matter is 
that the planters are strictly forbidden to impose punish- 
ment by fine or otherwise, and the authorities will take 
no effective methods to correct abuses. This condition 
is confirmed by quite independent and reliable sources, 
such as the managers of the Nederlandsche Handel 
Maatschappij and many agents and merchants in 
Medan and elsewhere. In the Bila district during 
1911, one English and two Swiss managers were mur- 
dered by estate labourers, and inquiries failed to show 
any reasonable provocation for these acts. Apparently 
the managers were dissatisfied with the work of certain 
coolies, and insisted that the men should do it in better 
fashion ; disputes followed in each case, and the coolies 
attacked the managers with hoes and knives and killed 
them. One of the murderers is now in the gaol at 



254 



THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 



Tandjong Balei, where he is serving a term of four years' 
hard labour for his crime. The other men received 
similar sentences. Obviously, such punishment is quite 
inadequate to meet the case. 

Accurate records of the yield per acre have not been 
kept on the Sumatra estates. This is principally due 
to the fact that the majority of the tapping hitherto 
has been on trees planted amongst Liberian coffee and 
other catch crops, and the growth has been so irregular 
and uneven that the number of pounds of rubber to 
the acre conveys no definite idea of the real condition 
of the industry. Some returns of the yield per tree in 
1911-12 are available, and they are given for what they 
are worth ; but they must be considered as only an 
approximate indication for a basis of calculation : 









No. of 




Name of Estate. 


District 


Age. 


Trees 


Yield per 








tapped. 








Years. 




Lb. 


i. Soengei Gerpa . . 


Langkat 


6} 


37,000 


3 '42 


2. 


}) 




35,000* 


0-85 


3. Blankahan 





6 


49,000 


2 '45 


4. Soengei Roean . . 





6| 


30,000 




5. Soengei Poetih 


Serdang 


6 


17,000 


1-50 


6. 


M 


si 


5,000 


1-90 


7. Telok Dalam 


Asahan 


5* 


18,083 


1-92 


8. 


>} 


ii 


800 


7*00 


9. Sennah Rubber Co. 


Bila 


4 


30,000 


i'33 



No useful purpose can be served by quoting further 
instances. As conditions in Sumatra are so very 
similar to those existing in the Malay Peninsula, it is 
safe, and more satisfactory in every way, to apply the 
Malay averages to Sumatra. 

* From August i, 1911,10 March i, 1912. 



THE NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES 255 

Owing to the method hitherto in vogue of keeping 
estate accounts in Sumatra, it is no easy matter to 
arrive at exact figures in regard to the cost of produc- 
tion of a pound of rubber f.o.b. at port of shipment. 
At present the expenses connected with coffee cultiva- 
tion are bulked with rubber where the two products are 
interplanted, or, where an estate has young trees and 
older trees in bearing, the expense of weeding has not 
been allocated in proper proportion to capital and 
revenue accounts. This confusion will be eliminated 
when the rubber industry has further developed, but 
for the moment the only practical course is to pick out 
the different items, and not rely implicitly on the general 
returns from estates. As a case in point take Telok 
Dalam Estate, where the cost of production f.o.b. for 191 1 
was placed at 58 cents per pound of rubber. An examina- 
tion of the accounts discloses an item of 3,000 guilders for 
a supply of cups, sufficient to last for three years, charged 
against tapping and collecting for 1911. Similarly, all 
the recruiting charges for indentured coolies brought 
to the estate in 1911 were charged against the cost of 
production in that year, instead of being proportioned 
over the contract term of three years. Then, again, 
depreciation on buildings had been omitted. Taking 
account of these errors, the results worked out at 
12 cents per pound less than 58 cents, and the cost 
f.o.b. was 48 cents, or 9*20 pence sterling. The ex- 
planation afforded by the general manager was that 
he only wished to pay 8 per cent dividend for 1911, and 
so debited many unusual costs against the revenue for 
that year. After very careful consideration of all 
details, the average cost of production f.o.b. Sumatra 
for 1913 should work out as follows : 



256 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

Cents. 

1. Tapping and collecting (includes deprecia- 

tion on cups and implements) 29 

2. Curing (includes depreciation on factory and 

machinery) 5 

3. Transport i 

4. Commissions and shipping charges i 

5. Weeding 3 

6. Cultivation 2 

7. Management 7 

8. Depreciation (on buildings other than factory) 3 

9. Hospital (share of central hospital with other 

estates) 2 

10. Maintenance of roads and drains 2 

11. Rent i 

12. Contingencies 2 

Total 58 

This is equal to uj pence sterling. As the trees 
become older, and the yield in the former coffee planta- 
tions less uneven, the cost should show a substantial 
decrease ; the average minimum cost in 1915 should 
not exceed 50 cents, or 10 pence, per pound of rubber 
f.o.b. at port of shipment. 

An analysis of the foregoing cost of production shows 
that 70 per cent, is for labour charges. Therefore any 
increase or decrease in expenditure principally depends 
on the wage rate of coolies and an efficient supervision 
to insure economy of labour wherever possible. Man- 
agement and labour combined sum up 47 cents out of 
a total cost of 58 cents for each pound of rubber pro- 
duced. The lower cost in Sumatra as compared to 
Malaya is due to the smaller intrinsic value of the 
monetary unit. 

The charges from port of shipment, Sumatra, to 



THE NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES 257 

London, Liverpool, Antwerp, or Amsterdam, are the 
same as those ruling from the Malay Peninsula. 
Freight from Medan and other ports on the east coast 
is fixed at 65 shillings per 50 cubic feet. Commissions 
for statistical purposes are calculated on a selling value 
of 24 pence per pound, and would rise or fall with any 
fluctuation in prices. The custom in Sumatra is to 
pack the rubber in wooden cases containing 112 pounds 
each, and averaging ten boxes to the 50 cubic feet. 
The charges are 

Pence per Lb. 

1. Freight 0700 

2. Brokerage 0-125 

3. Sale charges, insurance, storage, and sun- 

dries o'375 

4. Merchants' commission 0*250 

Total 1-450 

With the average cost f.o.b. Sumatra of nj pence per 
pound of rubber, the total cost up to date of sale in 
London or Liverpool will be nj pence plus 1*45 pence, 
making 12*95 pence per pound for 1913. As there is 
every reason to suppose that the future average cost 
of production f.o.b. Sumatra will not exceed 50 cents, 
or 10 pence, the total cost with rubber at 24 pence 
would be 1 1 '45 pence per pound ; or with the selling 
value at i shilling it would be 11*13 pence per pound, 
after making due allowance for the decrease in the rate 
of ad valorem commissions. 

In Sumatra at present it is useless to apply normal 
yields to the total acreage under cultivation in order 
to ascertain probable immediate production, for until 
1909 nearly all the trees were interplanted with Liberian 
coffee, their development choked, and their needs 
'7 



THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

neglected in every way. It is only in the last four 
years that proper attention has been given to the 
rubber, and the coffee cleared away to allow an oppor- 
tunity for recovery from past ill-treatment. Large 
numbers of trees that should yield 3 pounds of rubber 
each at six and seven years of age are giving little 
more than one-half of that amount. That these trees 
have survived at all is a matter for surprise, and that 
they are regaining normal conditions tends to show 
their amazing vitality. After most careful investi- 
gation of past details and existing circumstances, the 
following results were reached in regard to the future 
production over the area planted at the end of 1912 : 

ACTUAL PRODUCTION, 1906 TO 1913 



Year. 


Area under Cultivation. 


Rubber exported. 




Acres. 


Tons. 


1906 


6,140 


80 


1907 


20,150 


IOO 


1908 


38,800 


150 


1909 


67,000 


214 


1910 
1911 


100,000 

167,000 


330 
678 


1912 


227,000 


1*923 


i9 J 3 


237,000 


3440 



ESTIMATED FUTURE PRODUCTION, 1914 TO 1919 



1914 


237,000 


8,000 


1915 


240,000 


12,000 


1916 


245,000 


16,000 


1917 


250,000 


22,OOO 


1918 


250,000 


33,000 


1919 


250,000 


44,000 



THE NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES 259 

No allowance has been made for yield from trees 
planted after 1912 ; there will, however, be a substan- 
tial increase from this source from 1916 onwards. This 
additional production will offset any shortage that may 
occur from unforeseen circumstances in connection 
with the acreage in cultivation at the beginning of 



CHAPTER XVIII 
THE NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES : JAVA 

Locality of rubber estates Altitude of plantations above sea- 
level Meteorological conditions Characteristic features of soil 
Extension of the rubber plantations Origin of the Java rubber 
industry Trees of the black variety of Hevea BrasiliensisLand 
tenure Revenue and taxation Capitalization of rubber planta- 
tions Cost of establishing a plantation, including four years' 
maintenance Annual expenditure on a rubber plantation 
Revenue from young plantations Superintendence of estates 
Spacing of trees on plantations Construction of factories and 
preparation of latex. 

IN many respects the characteristic features of Java 
and Ceylon are not unlike; similar vegetation is 
common to both, agricultural industry is the source of 
wealth in the two islands, and the same products are 
cultivated under almost identical conditions of climate 
and soil. Java has the advantages of a very much larger 
population and a greater area of land suitable for all 
descriptions of tropical agriculture ; Ceylon, on the other 
hand, is better situated for the sale of produce in the 
European markets. The two islands have been in 
friendly competition for nearly a century past in con- 
nection with various enterprises, amongst these being 
the production of coffee, tea, cinchona bark, and, latterly, 
rubber. So far as coffee was concerned Java showed a 
greater power of resistance to the ravages of leaf disease 
than did Ceylon, and the cultivation has survived ; in 
regard to tea plantations Ceylon has more than held 

260 



THE NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES 261 

her own, but in the matter of cinchona bark Java was 
able to reduce the cost of production to a figure so low 
that the Ceylon plantations were abandoned as unprofit- 
able. In the direction of the rubber industry the pride 
of place rests easily with Ceylon, but the estates in 
Java are developing rapidly, and in a very few years 
the rivalry between the two countries will be accen- 
tuated to a marked degree. 

The rubber estates of Java are scattered over the 
island from east to west; but they are much more 
numerous in the southern section, for the reason that 
the rainfall is greater and more regular in the south. 
The principal districts where plantations have been 
opened are near Buitenzorg and Krawang, in the 
province of Batavia; Rangkas-Bitoeng and Menes, in 
Bantam; Tjandjoer, Bandoeng, and Banjar, in Preanger; 
Langen, Tjipari, and Kiliminger, in Banjoemas; Malang 
and Limburg, in Pasoerean ; Dj ember, Kalisat, and 
Banjoewani, in Besoeki ; and at various points in the 
provinces of Kediri and Soerabaja. In nearly all dis- 
tricts where coffee plantations previously existed, rubber 
has been planted whenever conditions of climate and 
soil permitted. Experiments tried with Para rubber in 
the northern sections of the island, between Batavia 
and Soerabaja, have not proved successful, owing to 
climatic reasons. 

Java differs from the other rubber-producing coun- 
tries of the Orient in that Para rubber flourishes at 
elevations varying from sea-level to 2,000 feet. At the 
latter height the growth may be somewhat slower, 
although it is difficult to express a definite opinion on 
this point, as all the rubber at high elevations has been 



262 



THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 



interplanted with other cultivations, and little attention 
given to it in the earlier stages. As regards yield of 
latex, there is very small difference from trees of equal 
ages at high and low elevations ; this is in marked con- 
trast to the general characteristic features prevalent in 
this respect in Ceylon, the only country where the 
physical conditions in any way resemble those existing 
in Java. The only plausible explanation is that south 
of the Equator different climatic influences come into 
action, and rainfall and temperature are not affected by 
variations to the same extent as happens in countries 
lying to the north of the equatorial line. 

The following statistics, collected from various rubber 
estates, afford a general idea of the climatic conditions : 



Estate. 


District. 


Elevation 
(Feet). 


Max. and Min. 
Temp. (Fahr.). 


Rainfall 
(Inches). 


I. Kiara Pagoeng 


Tjandjoer 


1, 800 


84; 6 7 


164 


2. Tjirandi 


n 


95 


86 ; 69 


I2 5 


3. Baud (tea) 
4. Pasir Oetjing - 


Bandoeng 


2,400 
900 


83 ; 64 
86 ; 69 


141 

136 


5. Batoe Lawan - 


Ban jar 


200 


91 ; 72 




6. Banjasari 





5 


92; 71 


121 


7. Tjipari - 


Banjoemas 


500 


87 ; 70 


131 


8. Kiliminger 


M 


2OO 


85; 71 


r 35 


9. Limburg- 


Malang 


1,050 


84 ; 68 




10. Kalidjeroek 


Dj ember 


800 


83 ; 69 


137 


ii. Mamboel 




300 


84 ; 69 




12. Glen More 


Bangoewani 


2OO 


85; 70 


9<5 


13. Buitenzorg 


Batavia 


7OO 


87 ; 70 


124 


14. Rangkas - Bito- 










eng (Tjikadoa) 


Bantam 


2OO 


87; 71 


117 


15. Menes (Pasir- 










Wringin) 





260 


87; 71 


198* 



* Exceptional rainfall caused by proximity to mountain ranges. 



THE NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES 263 

The foregoing observations show a very even tem- 
perature and a good average rainfall on the east, 
west, and south sections of the island, and doubtless 
explain to some extent the large average yields of latex 
at comparatively high elevations. The heavy rainfall 
at Menes is due to its close proximity to a high moun- 
tain. 

Throughout the highlands of the greater part of Java 

the soil is red laterite, overlaid with a considerable 

depth of humus and topsoil on all virgin forest-lands. 

On low-lying flat country the general characteristics are 

a dark brown greasy topsoil on stiff blue or yellow clay, 

these lands requiring extensive draining previous to 

cultivation to free them from accumulations of excessive 

moisture. In the eastern provinces of Pasoerean and 

Besoeki, the soil in the highlands is a rich chocolate, 

friable loam, not infrequently mixed with black scauria 

from the great volcanoes in those districts ; the soil of 

the low-lying flat lands in these provinces is a rich 

brown clayey loam, mixed with sand, alternating at 

times with a black, sandy soil of volcanic origin. On 

the laterite soil the growth of the rubber-trees is more 

satisfactory, and they are less subject to disease than on 

the low-lying clays ; but the latter could be very much 

improved by adequate draining and occasional forking 

over, with an application of lime as a top-dressing. 

Near Rangkas-Bitoeng a curious white soil, very loose 

on the surface and quite hard a foot or two down, is not 

uncommon. The rubber planted in this vicinity is 

healthy in appearance, and yields freely ; this class of 

soil, however, will need heavy manuring in the near 

future to insure satisfactory returns. 



264 



THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 



Official returns for 1910 gave the area planted with 
Para rubber as 158,000 acres on 215 estates ; in addition, 
there were under cultivation 1,086,126 Ficus, 687,748 
Castilloa, and 356,253 Ceara trees. In 1911 some 
50,000 acres were planted with Para rubber, and in 
1912 the area was increased by 25,000 acres. This 
aggregate for 1911 and 1912 is compiled from informa- 
tion supplied by estate agents and planters ; it is prob- 
ably less than the actual amount, and in any case must 
be considered a very conservative figure. Summed up, 
the approximate extent now cultivated with Hevea 
Brasiliensis is 



Year. 


Acres. 


Increase. 


1910 


158,003 





1911 


208,000 


50,000 


1912 


233,000 


25,000 


IQIS 


240,000 


7,000 



The extensions in 1911 and 1912 are directly due to 
the rubber boom of 1909-10 ; they took place principally 
in the eastern districts of the island in the provinces 
of Besoeki, Pasoerean, and Kediri. 

In 1898, when the price of coffee dropped so low that 
no profit remained to planters, efforts were made to find 
some product as a substitute. The question of con- 
verting the coffee estates into rubber plantations was 
considered in many districts, and application was made 
to the Government Agricultural Department for advice 
as to cultivation and the species of rubber-bearing tree 
most suitable for the conditions prevalent in Java. The 



THE NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES 265 

authorities at Buitenzorg recommended the planting of 
Ficus, Castilloa, and Ceara and emitted an opinion that 
Pard rubber (Hevea Brasiliensis) was ill-adapted to the 
soil and climate of the island. The cultivation of Ficus 
elastica was strongly advocated on the grounds that it 
was a natural product of the Java forests. It is due to 
this advice from the experts of the Agricultural Depart- 
ment that so large an area of Ficus, Castilloa and Ceard 
trees are found in Java to-day. The cultivation of 
Pard rubber was only begun seriously about 1905, when 
the experiences of Ceylon and the Malay Peninsula 
showed clearly its great superiority over all other species. 
In a few districts a limited number of Hevea trees had 
been planted before 1905, and the satisfactory develop- 
ment of these proved that they could be successfully 
cultivated, and that the opinion expressed by the 
authorities at Buitenzorg in 1898 was entirely erro- 
neous. In 1906-1908 arrangements were made to 
obtain seed from the Klang district of Selangor, and 
in those years a considerable number of coffee estates 
were interplanted with Para trees. In 1909-1911 the 
cultivated area was greatly extended in conjunction 
with the planting of Robusta coffee as a catch crop. 

On an estate named Pasir Oetjing, near Bandoeng, 
there are growing 120 trees planted from seeds collected 
in the Amazon Valley in 1899, and sent to Paris to the 
care of Mr. Godefroy-Lebeuf. After germination the 
plants were shipped to Java to Mr. A. Bovis, who 
planted them at the Pasir Oetjing estate. An account 
of these trees was published in the Journal d? Agriculture 
Tropicale of May 31, 1904, and it is claimed that they 
belong to the black variety of the Hevea Brasiliensis, 



266 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

considered in Brazil to be distinctly superior to any 
other species of the Hevecz. 

Land is held under long leases, seldom less than 
seventy-five years, issued by the Dutch Colonial 
authorities ; or in the case of semi-independent 
Sultanates they are nominally conceded by the 
Sultans, but must be approved by the resident Com- 
missioner. The annual rental varies from is. 8d. 
to 5s. lod. per bouw of if acres. A large proportion 
of the public waste-lands is now reserved for 
native plantations of rice and other foodstuffs, and 
grants for establishing new estates for rubber or other 
cultivations are difficult to obtain. It is, however, easy 
to buy from the owners of existing leases, the price 
varying from a few shillings to several pounds sterling 
per acre, according to the conditions and situation of 
the property. 

In addition to the annual rental paid for leasehold 
a land-tax of f per cent, is levied on a valuation 
made once in every five years. While this cannot be 
considered a very heavy contribution, it must be taken 
into account in all propositions for opening up rubber 
estates. No export duty is exacted on rubber shipments. 
The general revenue of the colony is derived from 
duties of 12 per cent, levied on all important merchan- 
dise, a personal income tax of 6 per cent., and various 
municipal rates charged on house property and other 
real estate in cities and towns. 

At the beginning of 1911 that is to say, three years 
ago, at the end of the boom period the amount 
invested in joint-stock rubber-producing companies in 
Java was 



THE NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES 267 



Nationality. 


Authorized 
Capital. 


Shares 
issued. 


i. Dutch 
2. Belgian and French 
3. German 
4. British 

Total 


Guilders. 
i7>753>coo 
2O,7CO,OOO 
1,300,000 
89,000,000 


Guilders. 
11,240,200 
18,042,000 
1,150,000 
74,500,000 


128,757,000 100,932,700 

( = 10,729,750)! ( = 8,411,058) 



Since those statistics were compiled several additional 
companies have been formed and the greater part of the 
unissued shares have been sold, so that to-day the total 
issued capital of the rubber joint-stock undertakings in 
Java is not far short of 12,250,000. The value of any 
debenture issues or other fixed interest charges in con- 
nection with these companies is so small that it need 
not be taken into consideration. Under the head- 
ing of " British Companies " is included the value of 
various undertakings originating in Hong-Kong and 
Shanghai. 

For general financial purposes the rubber estates in 
Java must be classified under three headings : (i) Plan- 
tations opened on economical lines before the rubber 
boom of 1909-10, and not sold during that period of 
inflated prices; (-2) old estates purchased during the 
boom or new plantations opened at that time ; (3) estates 
established between 1912 and 1913, on a scale of expen- 
diture restricted to conservative limits. Under the three 
categories the approximate extent and values in 1912 
were 



268 



THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 





Acres. 


Value. 


Average per 
Acre. 


i. Old estates with original 
capital 
2. Estates recapitalized in 
1909-1911 
3. Young estates now in 
course of development 


8o,OOO 
128,000 
32,000 




1,600,000 

9,750,000 
800,000 




20 
7 6 
25 



With regard to the estates under the first heading, the 
actual expenditure on rubber has been very small, as it 
was interplanted with coffee still under cultivation. In 
any considerations of the plantations capitalized during 
the boom period, allowance must be made for the large 
area of waste-land acquired by the companies in addi- 
tion, and out of all proportion to the extent planted with 
rubber. A nominal sum of 5 per acre for this may be 
taken as a fair deduction, thus reducing the cost under 
the second class to ji per acre. Under the third 
heading, the price given is the average cost per acre of 
opening an estate and bringing it into bearing, but does 
not include any premium paid for the acquisition of the 
leasehold of the necessary land. It is difficult to esti- 
mate the value of this premium, for if a Government 
grant is obtained, the only payments are the survey fees ; 
on the other hand, if the transfer of a lease from a 
private individual is arranged, the value of the premium 
may be anything from ios., or even less, to 5 sterling, 
but as a general rule for rubber lands the average price 
should seldom exceed i per acre. 

The cost of opening and maintaining 1,000 acres 
under rubber in Java until the estate becomes self- 
supporting should be about 288,000 guilders, equal to 



THE NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES 269 

24 per acre, exclusive of any premium paid for the 
acquisition of the land. This cost is distributed as 
follows : 

Guilders. 

1. Clearing, felling, and burning 15,000 

2. Cleaning up after burning 20,000 

3. Lining, holing, and filling 2,000 

4. Roads and drains 12,000 

5. Weeding : first nine months, 27,000 

guilders ; second twelve months, 24,000 
guilders; third twelve months, 18,000 
guilders ; fourth twelve months, 12,000 
guilders 81,000 

6. Management : manager, 600 guilders per 

month ; two assistants, 200 guilders each 
per month ; two clerks, 100 guilders 
each per month; contingencies, 2,000 
guilders per annum (office expenses) ... 56,000 

7. Planting and supplying 2,000 

8. Nurseries or purchase of plants 4,000 

9. Bungalows : one at 3,000 guilders ; one 

at 2,500 guilders ; one at 500 guilders 

(clerks) 6,000 

10. Factory and machinery 30,000 

11. Lines for coolies (125 rooms) 20,000 

12. Hospital and maintenance (four years) ... 10,000 

13. Rent 4,000 

14. Contingencies (general account) 26,000 

Total 288,000 

This expenditure is calculated on the actual cost of 
labour on rubber estates, whether the work is done by 
contract or by daily payment of wages on the check- 
roll. In some respects work in Java is cheaper than in 
Malay or Sumatra. Serviceable bungalows, constructed 
with wooden frames and interlaced bamboo walls, can 
be built for 2,500 guilders, equal to similar buildings in 



270 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

the Malay Peninsula costing not less than 4,500 dollars, 
and often exceeding that sum. Then, again, Government 
regulations are not enforced concerning lines for coolies 
or for hospitals, although, for the most part, both these 
important essentials are well looked after by the estate 
managers. As a rule the Javanese coolies prefer to live 
in small huts, divided into two or three rooms, and this 
type of building is found generally on the plantations, 
in contrast to the barrack-like accommodation provided 
in Malay, Sumatra, and Ceylon. 

As in all rubber-growing countries, the larger pro- 
portion of the outgoings is for the payment of labour 
and cost of management. The rate of wages varies 
so greatly even in the same district, as explained 
elsewhere that no hard and fast rule can be laid 
down for estate expenditure, but an average costjover 
a number of plantations in various localities gives 
an approximate estimate of the necessary expenses. 
Another factor to be taken into account is that man- 
agers and assistants are paid small salaries, with a 
bonus on profits. The custom in Java is to allow 
the manager 10 per cent, and the assistants %\ per 
cent, on the net profits, in addition to a fixed salary 
of about 500 per annum for the former and 250 
for the latter. This rate is paid on important pro- 
perties, with extensive interests at stake; on small 
plantations a lower remuneration is given. When an 
estate has reached the producing stage, this bonus 
system appeals strongly to the individual manager, but 
many complaints are heard in connection with newly 
opened rubber plantations, where four or five years must 
elapse before the concern becomes dividend-paying ; 



THE NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES 271 

certainly much of the enthusiasm in Java for inter- 
planting rubber with coffee and other products arises 
from the desire to earn profits at an early date. The 
following is an approximate cost of the annual main- 
tenance of an estate of 1,000 acres of six to seven-year- 
old trees, planted 20 feet by 15 feet (149 trees to i acre), 
or 20 feet by 20 feet (108 trees to i acre), and yielding 
a crop of 280,000 pounds of dry rubber : 

Guilders. 

1. Rent, 1,000 acres at i guilder per acre 1,000 

2. Tapping and collecting (including 

50 per cent, depreciation on cups, 
buckets, implements, etc.) 117,600 

3. Curing and preparation (including 

20 per cent, depreciation on factory 

and machinery) 11,250 

4. Transport, shipping-charges, and com- 

mission 5,6oo 

5. Management manager, two assistants, 

two clerks 11,250 

6. Weeding (60 cents per acre) 6,000 

7. Maintenance of roads and drains ... 6,000 

8. Cultivation 8,500 

9. Manuring 8,500 

10. Depreciation of buildings other than 

factory 6,000 

11. Hospital and medical attendance 

(optional, but necessary) 5,000 

12. Contingencies (taxes, etc.) 5,ooo 

Total 191,700 

( = 15,975) 

An allowance of 8^ guilders per acre has been made 
for manuring, as with the prevailing system of catch 
crops of coffee or other products some return to the 
soil is necessary. 



272 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

The cost of tapping and collecting is very much 
higher in Java than elsewhere in the Orient for reasons 
explained elsewhere. 

The yield of dry rubber from an estate planted 
15 feet by 20 feet with 149 trees to the acre, or 20 feet 
by 20 feet, with 108 trees to the acre, should not be less 
than 280,000 pounds under normal conditions, basing 
such figures on the actual returns obtained per tree, and 
after making due allowance for local conditions. The 
account at the close of the sixth year should be 

Lb. 
Dry rubber 280,000 



Value at 2S. per Ib 28,000 

The annual expenditure is 15,975. Freight and 
charges from port of shipment to date of sale are 
ij pence per pound, or a sum of 1,750. The bonus to 
manager and assistants would be 1,200. Directors' 
fees and secretarial expenses in London or elsewhere, 
about 1,500. Therefore the final return should be 



Gross return , 28,000 

Less freight and charges, 1,750 ; com- 
missions, ;i,2oo ; cost production f.o.b., 
I 5>975 > European directors and office, 
i.5oo 20,425 

Net profit 7,575 

On a capital expenditure of 25,000 this would enable 
a dividend of 30 per cent, to be paid. If the price of 
rubber should drop to 18 pence per pound, the estate 
would still be in a prosperous condition. Allowing that 



THE NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES 273 

no reduction be made in the annual estate expenditure, 
other items would automatically decrease; various 
charges would fall to 1,250 or less, manager's com- 
missions would be reduced to 200. If the European 
directors' fees and office charges are unaltered, the total 
expenditure for the year would be 18,925, leaving a 
net profit of 2,225, equivalent to a dividend of 9 per 
cent, on a capitalization of 25,000. 

The planting industry of Java has been established 
for so many years that experienced estate managers for 
tea, coffee, tobacco, sugar, cacao, cocoanuts, coca, and 
almost all branches of tropical agriculture are found in 
large numbers in the island. For rubber plantations, 
however, there is a great scarcity of experienced 
managers and superintendents. In knowledge of tapping 
and general conditions in connection with Para rubber 
there has been until very recently a marked lack of 
competent men ; even now thoroughly capable men 
; are not easy to find. Of course this is only a passing 
phase, for with the expansion of the rubber area and the 
beginning of the production stage of development, 
i serious attention is being paid to the matter, and 
managers and assistants are sent to the Malay Peninsula 
in considerable numbers, to learn the methods em- 
ployed and the general conduct of the business. In Java a 
Pew Englishmen and some Frenchmen and Belgians are 
employed, but the majority of managers and assistants 
are Dutchmen. The question of language is not an 
easy one for the newcomer, for to be thoroughly effi- 
cient he should understand and talk fluently Dutch, 
Malay, Sundanese, Javanese, and in some districts 
Madoerese. In several districts Sundanese and Javanese 

18 



274 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

only are spoken by the labouring classes, and Malay 
is practically unknown. In the planting districts of the 
extreme East, such as Bangoewani and other parts of 
Besoeki, the majority of the plantation hands are re- 
cruited from the island of Madoera, and only understand 
their own dialect. 

The spacing of trees on estates in Java varies in every 
district. On some of the older plantations the trees are 
only 7 feet by 7 feet, 8 feet by 8 feet, and 12 feet by 
10 feet. In most cases these are being thinned out, 
but the process leaves an uneven growth and is unsatis- 
factory. Other estates have gone to extremes in the 
opposite direction and planted 24 feet by 24 feet, and 
24 feet by 30 feet. Again, instances occur of 12 feet 
by 36 feet over a considerable area. Probably as an 
average 15 feet by 20 feet, giving 149 trees to the acre, 
or 20 feet by 20 feet, with 108 trees to the acre, may be 
taken as average distances for purposes of calculation. 

Many estates have recently erected factories devoted 
solely to the preparation of rubber, but until a year ago 
the area in bearing was so limited that makeshifts were 
employed by adapting a portion of the existing coffee 
stores for preparing the latex. 

The system followed in the Malay Peninsula has 
been adopted generally as the basis for the Java factories; 
but in many cases water-power, already applied for pur- 
poses of coffee machinery, can also be utilized, and this 
will prove a saving in future years. A disadvantage 
in Java, however, is the excessive humidity of the 
climate, necessitating six to eight weeks for drying 
crape of medium thickness. When the larger estates 
come into full production, it will be impossible to handle 



THE NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES 275 

the output by the present method of hanging in sheds, 
and machinery for drying by artificial means will be 
required. Probably the Passberg Vacuum Dryer will 
be brought into general use, unless some more effective 
apparatus can be found. The methods of treating the 
latex do not differ materially from the description given 
in connection with Ceylon and the Malayan industry, 
and therefore no repetition is necessary in regard to 
Java. 

The comparatively small quantity of rubber exported 
up to the present has gone principally to Rotterdam or 
London. To the latter port the freight charge is 77 shill- 
ings per 50 cubic feet, and to the former 72 shillings. 
A small quantity is shipped to Singapore and there sold 
at the regular rubber auctions, and there are indications 
that such shipments may increase in the future. Prices 
in Java are governed by London and Liverpool quota- 
tions, local sales allowing a deduction equivalent to the 
value of freight, insurance and commissions. 



CHAPTER XIX 

THE NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES: JAVA 

Continued 

The labour-supply Rate of wages Working hoursDiscipline 
on plantations Housing accommodation and food Sanitary con- 
ditions Opening a rubber plantation Effects of interplanting 
with Robusta coffee Weeding estates Tapping Health of 
rubber-trees Expansion of the rubber industry Average yield 
of trees Average cost of production at port of shipment 
Expenditure analyzed Costs after shipment up to date of sale 
Average cost per pound of rubber sold in 1913 Past exports and 
future production Railways and roads in Java. 

THE population of Java is extraordinarily prolific if 
the statistics furnished by the Dutch Government 
represent the actual state of affairs. The first attempt 
at a census of the inhabitants was made in 1815, under 
the direction of Sir Stamford Raffles at the time of the 
British occupation of the island; the figures then 
returned were 4,390,661 for Java and 224,609 for 
Madoera, a total of 4,615,270, of whom 4,499,250 were 
natives. In 1878 the total had risen to 19,067,829, 
including 200,303 Chinese, 29,998 Europeans, and 
9,610 Arabs and other Orientals. In 1897 the returns 
were 26,125,110 divided as to 51,731 Europeans, 261,107 
Chinese, 17,075 Arabs, and 3,238 other foreigners. In 
1912, the estimated total number of inhabitants was 
given as between 34,000,000 and 35,000,000, an increase, 
approximately, of 9,000,000 during the intervening 
fifteen years. All indications are that the population 

276 



( 



THE NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES 277 

will continue augmenting in the near future. Some 
75 per cent, of the natives live by agriculture in one 
form or another ; the Chinese and Arabs are nearly all 
traders, and of the Europeans 50 per cent, are in civil 
or military employment. The religion of the Javanese, 
especially in the eastern districts, is nominally Mahome- 
danism, but both Buddhism and Brahminism exists; 
although professing one or other of these faiths, a 
very large proportion of the inhabitants are still be- 
lievers in the pagan precepts of their forefathers. In 
1912, the number of native Christians was stated to 
be between 60,000 and 70,000, but information on this 
point is uncertain. 

With a population of some 35,000,000 natives it 
appears at first sight that no difficulty should be ex- 
perienced in Java with regard to the requirements of 
labourers for the sugar-cane, tea, tobacco, coffee, rubber, 
and cocoa plantations. Such, however, is not the case ; 
with rubber estates particularly the number of coolies 
available is inadequate in many districts. There is no 
doubt that this scarcity of labour for plantation pur- 
poses is due in great part to the large area under culti- 
vation in the island, the rice-fields extending to 3,000,000 
acres, sugar-cane to some 600,000, tobacco 200,000, tea 
250,000, and a similar area is under crop with coffee and 
rubber combined; native foodstuffs and fruits do not 
occupy less than 1,000,000 acres, coconuts 200,000, and 
probably not less than 500,000 acres altogether are de- 
voted to other products. This means that a combined 
demand exists for coolies to cultivate 6,000,000 acres ; 
in addition, an annual drain takes place to Sumatra of 
some 50,000 labourers, and to Malay of a further 10,000 






278 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

for work on the rubber estates in those countries. It 
must also be remembered that the native methods of 
cultivating rice-fields and gardens for fruit and food- 
stuffs is antiquated and extravagant ; labour-saving 
machinery and modern implements are practically un- 
known, and the result is waste of energy and time in 
many directions. 

In the eastern districts a large proportion of the 
coolies employed are recruited from the island of 
Madoera, close to the province of Soerabaya. This 
island is poor in agricultural resources ; but it has a 
large population of poverty-stricken inhabitants, of 
whom a considerable proportion are willing to go to 
work on the plantations of the mainland. They are 
weak and sickly on first arrival at the estates, but make 
useful labourers after a period of regular rations has 
improved their physique. 

No system of contract labour is permitted in Java. 
The coolies are free to work for any rate of wage they 
can obtain, and they take full advantage of this con- 
dition, leaving an estate at any time they feel inclined 
to do so without the smallest consideration for the in- 
convenience occasioned by such action. In order to 
check this inclination, estate managers endeavour to 
form resident colonies of plantation hands, and to those 
who remain permanently a higher wage is granted and 
many privileges allowed. On old-established estates 
this resident labouring force is a prominent feature ; on 
rubber plantations, however, it is only a limited factor, 
owing to the comparatively recent date of the industry, 
and to its unpopularity compared to other cultivations. 
Another reason is that the climate and land best suited 



THE NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES 279 

for growing Para rubber is situated as a rule in un- 
healthy districts and inaccessible localities, where food- 
supplies and other necessaries are expensive and not 
easy to obtain. 

The rate of wages paid to coolies varies in every dis- 
trict, and often even on adjoining estates in the same 
district. On some tea estates in 1912, the daily pay- 
ment was 17 cents for men and 15 cents for women, 
while children of twelve to fourteen years of age earned 
8 to 10 cents a day. A small present was given at the 
end of the month if the output of leaf was particularly 
good, but the average payments to men were only at 
the rate of 5 guilders per month, and to women and 
children in like proportion. These coolies were resi- 
dent on the plantations, and appeared perfectly satisfied 
with the conditions. At a rubber estate only a few 
miles distant the men were receiving 40 and the women 
30 cents per day, but the labour force was dissatisfied 
and constantly changing. The average daily wage paid 
on rubber plantations throughout Java may be taken 
as 40 cents for men, 30 for women, and 15 cents for 
children for ordinary work; and 45 cents to men and 
35 cents to women daily as tappers. There is not any 
marked indication of an immediate alteration in these 
wage conditions, for it happens nearly always that 
when an estate succeeds in obtaining labour for a lower 
rate of pay, some neighbouring planter who is short of 
hands offers an additional money inducement and the 
coolies go to him. There is no cohesion among planters 
to check this state of affairs. 

The working hours are nominally from 6 a.m. to 
4 p.m. with one hour of rest at noon. As a rule, how-. 



280 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

ever, all plantation work is divided into tasks which the 
coolie with a little additional application and energy 
can finish by 2 p.m. This piecework system is found 
to be more satisfactory for the estate and the coolies. 

In view of the large number of labourers employed in 
agricultural undertakings in Java, the general standard 
of discipline is well maintained. Occasional instances 
of rioting and insubordination occur on plantations ; 
these are sometimes quite unjustified, and as a rule 
originate in an imaginary grievance not appreciated by 
the manager or his assistants. Every now and then, 
however, serious incidents take place and result in the 
murder of the superintendent, but such occurrences are 
few and far between. 

Where the system of resident colonies of labourers 
has been established, each family has a house, or part of 
a house, allotted to them, or land is given to them on 
which they can build for themselves and remain in 
possession as long as they continue working on the 
estate. In many cases plots of land are also allowed to 
them for the cultivation of fruits and vegetables for their 
own use. The food is rice, curry-stuffs, fruit, vegetables, 
and occasionally pork or poultry, but meat is rarely eaten. 
All provisions are purchased at the neighbouring villages. 

Health conditions vary greatly in Java. In the high- 
lands there is not a great deal of malaria, but dysentery 
and smallpox are not infrequent. In the district of 
Malang an outbreak of bubonic plague occurred in 1911, 
and occasioned some 10,000 deaths, but no European 
contracted it. In the low-lying districts malarial fever 
is prevalent, and at certain seasons of the year the 
regular practice is to administer daily doses of 5 grains 
of quinine to every estate coolie. 



THE NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES 281 

The organization of a rubber plantation in Java differs 
in no essential particulars from the description given of 
similar work in Malay or Sumatra, except in the matter 
of the labour question already alluded to. The pre- 
liminary work of felling, burning, and cleaning up can 
be contracted for ; but the price shows small difference 
whether arranged by such contracts or executed by 
daily labour. The Government impose no restrictions 
in regard to dwellings for coolies or in regard to hos- 
pital accommodation, but it is found by experience that 
these factors in estate life require careful and serious 
attention in order to make the place popular for labour. 
On the rubber plantations in Java it has become an 
established custom in many districts to grow catch 
crops of Robusta, Quillou, or Uganda coffee for the 
first five years after the estate is opened. While catch 
crops have been condemned in Malay and Sumatra, 
there is a good deal to be said in favour of planting 
these varieties of coffee in Java. 

Where the catch crops of Robusta, Quillou, or 
Uganda coffee, are planted at the same time as rubber 
in Java, the effect is less detrimental than might be 
expected. The young rubber-trees obtain a fair start 
before they are shut in by the growth of the coffee 
bushes, and the estate is kept cleaner from weeds than 
would be the case if no catch crop was planted. At 
the end of the second year the coffee-trees are topped 
at 6 feet from the ground, and by this time the rubber 
has attained a height of some 12 or 14 feet, so that it 
is never excluded from light and air. The danger to 
some extent lies in the third and especially the fourth 
years, when in order to obtain bigger coffee crops the 



282 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

Dutch planters are apt to prune the rubber heavily to 
reduce the shade for the coffee. If the coffee is 
eliminated at the end of the fourth year, as has been 
done on many estates, no great harm is done to 
the rubber beyond a slightly restricted condition of 
development. If, however, an attempt is made to 
obtain a crop of coffee in the fifth year, the rubber- 
trees undoubtedly suffer, and unevenness in their de- 
velopment becomes most noticeable. Moreover, the 
thick growth of the coffee-bushes interferes seriously 
with the supervision of tapping, with the result that 
the work is badly done and very costly. 

One reason given by planters in Java for growing 
coffee together with rubber is that the former serves 
to make the estate popular with labourers, for the 
reason that they earn better wages at picking coffee than 
at any other cultivation in Java. It is easy work, and 
a woman with one or two of her children to help her 
frequently obtains a wage of i guilder (is. 8d.) a day. 

The financial point of view must also be considered. 
With a small crop in the second year, another of 10 
to 12 hundredweights per acre in the third, and an 
even greater yield in the fourth season, with this coffee 
selling at its present price of about 50 shillings per 
hundredweight, an actual profit of 30 sterling per 
acre can be made by the time the rubber-trees are 
ready for tapping. In other words, the rubber has 
cost nothing, and a clear 30 per acre has been made 
over the area cultivated. Moreover, catch crops of 
coffee under existing conditions appeal to the managers 
of estates, as a percentage of the profits falls to them. 

Clean weeding, apart from those estates interplanted 
with coffee, is not the general rule in Java. Planters 



THE NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES 283 

give as a reason that the trees do not suffer if lalang 
and other pernicious grasses are kept under; indeed, 
they go so far as to say that weeds are beneficial to 
prevent wash in heavy rains, and useful in keeping the 
ground moist in seasons of drought. In Ceylon and 
the Malay Peninsula such theories are rejected, and 
other measures, such as draining and forking, are 
adopted to remedy the damage caused respectively by 
superabundant rainfall and the effects of dry weather. 
As a general rule, the somewhat dirty appearance of the 
majority of estates in Java is due to careless manage- 
ment or lack of funds to employ sufficient labour. 

The standard of tapping in Java is far from satis- 
factory. It is true that this class of work is only 
beginning, but with the example of the damage done 
in the Malay Peninsula by careless work a few years 
ago, it is inexcusable that the Java planters do not 
make greater efforts to teach their coolies how to work 
in a more efficient manner. A reason given for this 
condition of affairs is that the labour on rubber estates 
is seldom permanent, and that as soon as a batch of 
men are efficient, they leave for other estates where 
they can obtain a higher wage ; or the rice harvest 
of their village begins, and they forsake the plantation 
and return to their homes. There is a great deal of 
truth in both these assertions, and for some years to 
come they will be an obstacle to good tapping. A 
more serious point, however, is that in view of the 
difficulties of retaining good tappers an insufficient 
amount of daily labour is required from them, and, 
consequently, the cost of the work is far higher than 
in Malay, Sumatra, or Ceylon. In fact, on several 
estates the daily task is, approximately, one-half of 



284 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

that accomplished in the three countries under similar 
conditions of age and growth of trees. 

The usual diseases of the Para rubber-tree are present 
in Java. Evidence of various forms of canker is seen 
on many plantations ; especially is this the case on low- 
lying lands near the sea-coast. In the Banjoemas dis- 
trict it is prevalent to a marked degree, and considerable 
areas have suffered severely on both the Langen and 
Banjarsari estates, where the soil is of a cold, clay 
character, and very wet. Decay of the cortex on the 
tapped surface is also common in these swampy districts, 
and is similar to cambium rot in Ceylon. Possibly 
better drainage and the application of lime as a top 
dressing for the soil may remedy the evil, but it can 
be eradicated only at comparatively high cost. On the 
laterite soils of the hilly and undulating lands bark 
disease is less in evidence ; but it exists, and it requires 
constant watching and treatment. Fomes and " Die- 
back" are both found, but so far threaten no serious 
damage when the trees are taken in hand at an early 
stage of infection. White ants are not very numerous, 
and do little harm. With the exception of the estates 
on the very low-lying wet lands, where canker has a 
strong hold, there is no reason why disease should 
prove a serious factor in the development of the Java 
rubber industry. 

There is ample room for the extension of the industry 
as far as suitable land is concerned. The general in- 
clination in Java, however, is not to attempt any fresh 
undertakings until some tangible results are obtained 
from the area now under cultivation. A good deal 
depends upon the course of coffee prices during the 
next few years ; there is no doubt that any great expan- 



THE NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES 285 

sion of the growth of the Robusta, Quillou, and Uganda 
coffees will be accompanied with a corresponding in- 
crease in the area under rubber, for the planting of the 
latter can be done without cost except for nurseries and 
putting out the plants in the fields. The Dutch planter 
likes to have two strings to his bow, and many of them 
aver that they would always put in coffee and rubber 
together and decide later on which crop w r ould pay them 
best to retain under cultivation. 

The Java industry is still in its preliminary stages of 
development, and therefore it is impossible to obtain 
reliable returns over definite areas on which to base 
accurate calculations of averages. Many estates have 
thousands of trees in tapping, but for the most part 
only begun during the last two years, and too scattered 
to give representative results per acre. The following 
yields per tree in various districts only serve as an 
indication of general conditions : 



Altitude. 


Estate. 


District. 


No. of Trees 
Tapping. 


Average 
Yield. 


Age. 


Feet. 








Lb. 


Years. 


600 to 1,850 


Kiara, Pagoeng 


Preanger 


31,150 


60 


4 to 5 


800 


Tjirandi 


it 


49,000 


"35 


4 6 


800 


Pasir Oetjing 




80,000* 


*8o 


4 6 


200 


Batoe Lawan 


Banjar 


19,437 


70 


4 5 


50 


Banjasarie 


M 


31,000 


75 


4 6 


100 


Langen 


Banjoemas 


148,000 


'53 


4 5 


50 to 600 


Tjipari 


,, 


32,000 


25 


4 5 


1,050 


Limburg 


Malang 


60,000 


12 


4 5 


800 


Kalidjeroek 


Dj ember 


6.OOO 


25 


4 6 


800 


tt 


M 


5 


7'00 


12 


2OO 


Mamboel 


tt 


I5,ooot 


'35 


4 


200 


Glen More 


Banjoewani 


5,ooof 


0*40 


3* 


200 


Kaliminger 


Banjoemas 


15,000 


I '00 


4* 


260 


Pasir Waringen 


Bantam 


24,000 


1-25 


4 to 5 


200 


Tjikadoe 





20,000 


1-50 


4,, 5 



* 120 trees eleven years. 



t Tapping only just begun. 



286 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

For young trees these results are fairly satisfactory. 
In several of the records tapping had taken place only 
for two, three, or four months, and the yield per 
year is calculated on the monthly returns. These 
estates were planted with 150 trees to the acre, and 
on nearly all catch crops of coffee were under cultiva- 
tion. 

Costs of production f.o.b. Batavia, Soerabaja, or other 
Java ports, are comparatively high ; no export duty is 
payable on rubber, and no Government requirements 
are enacted in regard to accommodation for coolies or 
extraordinary expenditure in connection with hospitals 
or medical attendance. The books of various plan- 
tations show what should be the average cost of pro- 
ducing a pound of rubber during the next few years, 
and this information itemized gives the following 
figures : 

Cents per Lb. 

1. Tapping and collecting (including 50 per cent. 

depreciation on cups and implements) ... 42 

2. Curing and preparation (including 20 per cent. 

depreciation on factory and machinery) ... 4 

3. Transport and shipping 2 

4. Management (exclusive of commissions to 

managers and assistants) 4 

5. Weeding 2 

6. Cultivation 3 

7. Manuring 3 

8. Maintenance of roads and drains 2 

9. Depreciation on building other than factory 

(20 per cent.) 2 

10. Hospital expenses 2 

11. Contingencies (including rent and taxes) ... 4 

Total 70 



THE NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES 287 

This sum of 70 cents per pound is equal to is. 2d. 
sterling, and represents the minimum average cost 
f.o.b. for some years to come. The expenditure for 
tapping and collecting is unduly high, but for reasons 
already set out it is difficult to see how any substantial 
economy is to be effected under this heading in the 
immediate future. As the trees increase in yield, the 
cost of tapping and collecting will diminish ; but owing 
to the labour conditions in Java, the reduction in cost 
will not be nearly so marked as in the case of Malay 
and Ceylon, where the system of work is better 
organized. 

The foregoing estimate concerning cost of production 
shows that 80 per cent, is for expenditure on labour. 
It is clear that in Java the factor of efficient supervision 
is of very great importance. Together, management 
and labour amount to 58 cents out of a total expenditure 
of 70 cents per pound of dry rubber. Therefore it is 
evident that on the ability of the manager and his 
assistants to control the labour efficiently and econom- 
ically depends the failure or success of the plantation. 

The charges from port of shipment, Java to London, 
Rotterdam, or Amsterdam, differ very slightly from 
those in force for Malay and Sumatra. The present 
rate of freight to London is 77 shillings per 50 cubic 
feet. To Dutch ports the cost of freight is 5 shillings 
less per ton, the higher rate for London being on account 
of transhipment in Holland. Rubber from Java is 
packed in boxes containing 112 pounds, averaging ten to 
the 50 cubic feet. Commissions in Europe are similar 
to those from Malay and Sumatra. The total charges 
are 



288 



THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 



Pence per Lb. 

1. Freight 0-82 

2. Brokerage ( per cent.) 0-125 

3. Sale charges, insurance, storage, sundries 

(ij per cent.) 0375 

4. Merchants' commission (i per cent.) ... 0*25 



Total 



1-570 



These charges are calculated on an average price of 
24 pence per pound of rubber. 

Adding the cost of production f.o.b. port of shipment 
in Java, together with the further costs up to date of 
sale in Europe, the actual total cost is 

Pence. 

1. Cost of production f.o.b 14-00 

2. Freight, insurance, etc 1*57 

Total 15-57 

As regards past production in Java, the amount shipped 
is insignificant so far as Para rubber is concerned. The 
official returns classify gutta-percha, Rambong, and 
Para under the same heading, but with some difficulty 
the two former have been separated. The return of 
Para shipments beginning in 1909, were 

EXPORTS AND PRODUCTION, 1909 TO 1913 



Year. 


Tons. 


Acres Bearing. 


Remarks. 


1909 


40 


600 


About 20 tons to Singapore 


1910 


70 


1,000 


40 


1911 


99 


1, 600 


>i 73 


1912 


530 


10,000 


loo 


1913 


1,760 


40,000 


150 



THE NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES 289 

ESTIMATED FUTURE PRODUCTION, 1914 TO 1921 



Year. 


Tons. 


Acres bearing. 


1914 
19*5 


10,650 
18,300 


158,000 
208,000 


1916 


26,550 


230,000 


1917 


32,300 


233,000 


1918 


38,250 


240,000 


1919 


43.650 


240,000 


1920 


44,500 


240,000 


1921 


46,000 


240,000 









The above is calculated on the following basis 



Age of Trees. 


Yield per Acre. 




Lb. 


4 to 5 years 






112 


5 


> o 


. 






224 


6 


, 7 








280 


7 


, 8 


I 






336 


8 


9 


) 






392 


9 


, 10 


' 






448 



Taking into consideration that a large proportion of 
the younger rubber suffered in past years by inter- 
planting with Liberian coffee and from careless cultiva- 
tion, from which it is only now recovering, this basis 
for calculating future production may be considered a 
sound one. 

The amount of Rambong (Ficus) rubber exported in 
1910 was 228 tons ; but this dropped off to practically 
nothing in 1911, for the reason that the high prices of 
the previous year induced planters to tap the Ficus 
trees heavily, and they had not recovered sufficiently to 
19 



2 go THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

yield any latex worth collecting. The export of gutta- 
percha in 1910 was 300 tons, but in 1911 the shipments 
dropped to 45 tons, the falling off being due to the same 
cause as occurred with the Ficus. 

The railway system is being gradually extended 
throughout the island, and in the course of a few years 
will provide access to all the principal districts ; but the 
roads which act as feeders to the various railway lines 
leave much to be desired. Except in the vicinity of the 
larger towns, the maintenance of all roads and bridges is 
neglected. First-class Government roads are metalled ; 
but second-class roads have only an earth surface levelled 
off, and in wet weather they are impassable for wheeled 
traffic. This is especially inconvenient for rubber and 
coffee estates, which as a rule are situated at consider- 
able distances from the main roads. 



CHAPTER XX 

A BRIEF REVIEW OF THE ORIENTAL 
SITUATION 

Past and future production in the Orient Estimated produc- 
tion from 1914 to 1919 Consumption and production The 
labour question in the Orient Effects of diseases and pests on 
future development Premium of Amazon Valley rubber over the 
plantation product Average total cost of plantation rubber to 
date of sale The question of the black and white varieties of 
Hevea Brasiliensis. 

BOTH in the Orient and Brazil the year 1913 was 
a momentous epoch in the history of the rubber 
industry. Production on the Eastern plantations ex- 
ceeded the output of the Amazon Valley by 25 per 
cent., and was greater than the total shipments from all 
Brazilian ports. This increased yield in the Orient 
signifies the parting of the ways between cultivated and 
wild rubber, for the Eastern production for 1914 will 
surpass by a substantial amount the aggregate wild- 
rubber output in all parts of the world. The dominant 
factor in the rubber situation from now onwards will be 
undoubtedly the returns from plantations, and the 
supplies from wild sources will steadily recede into the 
background. That production in the Amazon Valley 
and the Congo territories should cease altogether is by 
no means a corollary of the conditions now in process 
of development ; the general indications are that 
Brazilian and African wild rubber will continue to come 
forward, but the shipments will be smaller in quantity, 

291 



292 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

and principally confined to the higher grades. While 
this reduced output may retain a premium in value for 
some years to come over the Oriental product, for 
reasons hereafter explained, its importance as a factor 
influencing market prices will decline in direct propor- 
tion to the progress of the plantation industry, and the 
occasion for its use in the manufacture of rubber goods 
will practically become a negligible quantity within the 
next decade. It will become a luxury instead of a 
necessity. 

The subject of the area under cultivation and the 
steady increase in production leading up to the existing 
conditions of to-day has been dealt with in detail in 
the description of the principal centres of the industry 
in the East. It is unnecessary, therefore, to recapitulate 
more than the returns for 1912 and 1913, to demon- 
strate clearly the expansion of the output and the close 
relation of the increased quantity to the shrinkage in 
the market value. The Oriental shipments for the past 
two years are shown in the table on p. 293. 

In regard to future production, the yield has been 
calculated until 1919 upon the acreage planted in 1912, 
and leaving out of account any returns from areas 
planted after that date. Under these conditions, the 
total acreage on which production is based in 1919 will 
comprise trees averaging ten years of age, equal in girth 
and height to trees of twenty to twenty-five years 
old in the Amazon Valley. Doubtless with increased 
development a greater yield will be obtained than at 
ten years, but for practical purposes the trees may be 
considered as having reached maturity, and the quality 
of the latex will show little difference in regard to 
density after that period is passed. 



REVIEW OF THE ORIENTAL SITUATION 293 



O O 



O O O 

" 






o t^ oo 

H S = 



OO QQ 
O "" O O 
OOTj- CS^j- 



O O 



! H 



8 ^.8 8 8 8 

Tfo*M> to N r 



~~ o' o" o" o" o" o" o" o~ o" I ~~ 

Tfoo^-ro 'l-txTt n ^ -00 



OOO O Lr >O O*" 

V^CON fOro r 









*o i 

& i 



o 



Sf 
v5 



6" O" 



"c ^ c 

"^S-S'S . 



294 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

The estimated production for the next six years is 
given in the table on p. 295. 

This estimate is drawn up on distinctly conservative 
lines, and therefore may be exceeded by the actual pro- 
duction in the course of the next few years; on the 
other hand, the figures may be above the mark in event 
of some great unforeseen disaster to the plantations in 
Malaya. 

So far as published returns of the consumption of 
crude rubber go, they show the amount used by manu- 
facturers in 1913 to have been 110,000 tons approxi- 
mately. Assuming that 120,000 tons are needed to 
meet the demand in 1914, the question of a sufficiency 
of the raw material depends on the quantity of wild 
rubber brought to market. In 1913 the aggregate of 
the supplies from Brazil, Africa, and Central America, 
was between 65,000 and 70,000 tons ; the indications are 
that this production will be curtailed to a substantial 
extent during 1914 and subsequently. This year, how- 
ever, in view of present prices, it is reasonable to sup- 
pose that a shrinkage of at least 35 per cent, will take 
place in the supplfes of wild rubber as compared to 
1913 ; if this occurs, the position for 1914 will be 

Plantation rubber 85,000 tons. 

Wild rubber (say) 50,000 

Total supplies ... 135,000 ,, 

This leaves a surplus of 15,000 tons to be absorbed over 
the amount generally accepted as required for normal 
necessities by manufacturers. A revival of commercial 
activity in the United States would account for a very 
considerable percentage of this surplus ; but the effect 
of the over-production in the course of the next twelve 



REVIEW OF THE ORIENTAL SITUATION 295 



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2 g6 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

months will be felt in many directions, and it will prob- 
ably be reflected in the price of the raw material. 

The cry is often raised that a shortage of labour will 
restrict the production of Eastern plantations. There is 
nothing in the present situation to justify alarm in this 
direction. From time to time complaints are heard 
from planters that more coolies are needed ; but such 
complaints have been made for many years past, and 
yet the industrial development of the countries now 
under review has not been checked by any serious 
labour difficulties. Taking a broad view of the situa- 
tion, it is impossible to foresee any great set-back from 
this cause so long as India and China remain open as 
recruiting-grounds for plantation hands. An adjustment 
of the wage rate may be necessary as time goes on, and 
many details in connection with the labour-supply 
require careful consideration as the situation develops ; 
but the coolies are there in abundance, and must work 
or starve, therefore it is only a question of adapting 
conditions to fit the case. 

The experience for the last ten years of the damage by 
diseases and pests to rubber-trees in the Orient, has 
demonstrated beyond question that no serious loss 
occurs when adequate vigilance is maintained, and the 
proper remedies applied to check the spread of the 
various plagues which appear from time to time on the 
plantations. This opinion is confirmed by the late 
Dr. Jacques Huber, after an examination of the prin- 
cipal centres of Eastern production, in a report to the 
Governor of Para dated November, 1912. Dr. Huber 
states that he was greatly impressed by the magnificent 
appearance of the trees in all the districts he visited 
of Ceylon, Malay, Java, and Sumatra. 



REVIEW OF THE ORIENTAL SITUATION 297 

That fine hard Para should command a premium of 
6d. (and often more) per^pound over the best plantation 
descriptions would at first sight appear an anomaly. 
It is more striking when the fact is remembered that 
the Brazilian rubber often contains 20 per cent, of 
moisture, as against i per cent, in the plantation 
product. In this connection, the action taken by the 
Rubber Growers' Association in the autumn of 1913 
was distinctly a step in the right direction. The sug- 
gestion to standardize the preparation of latex on the 
estates is worthy of all consideration, but it would be 
extremely difficult, if not impossible, to bring any such 
practice into general use under existing conditions ; on 
the other hand, the proposal to grade all rubber before 
sale is a practical measure that can be applied with 
advantage, and should be supported by all Eastern pro- 
ducers. The causes for the lower value of plantation 
rubber as against fine hard Para are the following: 

Variability. The practice of treating latex with 
acetic and other acids tends to bring about unevenness 
in the rubber, for the reason that each estate applies 
these coagulants at the discretion of the manager, and 
therefore without any fixed standard of quantity. The 
fact that on the more important plantations the per- 
centage of acid is regulated by competent chemists does 
not affect the general result ; moreover, the majority of 
producing estates are tapping trees of different ages, and 
the latex is mixed in a common receptacle on arrival at 
the factory. It is evident that the product of four-year- 
old trees requires different treatment from that obtained 
from trees ten years of age ; it would be interesting to 
know the proportion of plantations making any dis- 
tinction in regard to the different classes of latex col- 



2 9 8 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

lected during the day's work, and to compare the final 
results with the output of estates where no attempt 
at such distinction has been made. In the Amazon 
Valley the latex is of much more even quality than in 
the Orient ; in many extensive districts the variation in 
density is barely perceptible ; the trees in tapping are 
all of mature age, and the method of coagulating the 
latex by immersing in the smoke of the Urucury nut is 
a guarantee that no excessive absorption of carbonic 
acid can take place. The difference in quality of rubber 
from Para is due to the different varieties of the Hevea 
Brasiliensis common to different sections of territory, and 
not to any variation in methods of preparation. 

Another cause for variability in the plantation prod- 
uct is the rolling and tearing of the rubber sponge 
after coagulation ; in the case of the Brazilian product 
no manipulation whatever takes place after the latex is 
coagulated, and the excess of moisture saturated with 
carbonic acid remains in the rubber and acts as a pre- 
servative. 

Grading. No adequate system of grading plantation 
rubber has yet been attempted. It is not sufficient to 
separate the rubber into four or five classes, as is done 
at the present time in the Orient; the finer qualities 
should be subjected to classification by experts before 
shipment, or by laboratory tests after arrival in London 
or Liverpool, as suggested recently by the Rubber 
Growers' Association. In the Amazon Valley the 
grading is done by experts at the port of shipment, and 
the effectiveness of this operation is proved by the 
willingness of manufacturers to purchase large consign- 
ments of Para rubber on the classification set out in 
bills of lading. 



REVIEW OF THE ORIENTAL SITUATION 299 

Resiliency. There is no doubt whatever that rubber of 
greater resiliency and better nerve is obtained from the 
latex of mature trees than from young plantations. It 
is a question of opinion as to the age at which trees in the 
Orient may be said to reach maturity under the exist- 
ing conditions of cultivation ; but on broad lines, based 
on average density of latex, the period may be placed 
at from eight to ten years from the date of planting. 
The advantage enjoyed by the Amazon Valley in this 
respect, therefore, is only a passing phase which will be 
rectified automatically in a very few years. After the 
year 1919 the latex from immature trees in the Orient 
will be a negligible factor, for it will never exceed 5 per 
cent, of the total production, and probably fall much 
below that figure. 

Three causes in the last twelve months have con- 
tributed to reduce the "all in" costs of rubber. The 
first was the fall in value of the raw material, leading 
to the reduction of all ad valorem charges and com- 
missions; the second was the abolition of the 2\ per 
cent, and per cent, for draft and allowance to buyers ; 
and the third was the revision of the dock and ware- 
house charges in London. The combination of these 
three factors diminish the costs between shipment and 
sale by approximately 2 pence per pound. Under present 
conditions the average cost per pound of rubber during 
the next quinquennial period should not exceed, for 
the countries specified, the figures given in the table on 
p. 300. These average costs compare with 28 pence 
per pound of rubber for the crop season 1912-13 in 
the Amazon Valley. 

It is asserted in the Amazon Valley that the 
superiority of the Brazilian rubber from the upper 



300 



THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 



rivers is due to the preponderance in those districts of 
the variety of Hevea Brasiliensis known locally as the 
black Hevea, and that the trees in the vicinity of the 
River Tapajoz, whence Mr. Wickham obtained the seed 
for the Orient in 1875, are a ^ f tne white variety, pro- 
ducing rubber of an inferior quality. It is true that 
the product of the lower portion of the Amazon Valley 
is distinctly inferior to that shipped from the districts 
of the upper rivers, and does not come under the 

ESTIMATED COST OF PRODUCTION, 1914-1919 



Country. 



9- 
10. 



Malay Peninsula 

Ceylon 

Southern India 

Burmah 

Borneo and Sarawak 

Java 

Sumatra 

Dutch Borneo, Celebes, etc 

Saigon 

New Guinea, Philippines, and other 
islands of Oceania .. 



Cost per Pound 
in Pence. 



13* 



designation of fine hard Para ; on the other hand, the 
difference of soil and the effects of cultivation have 
altered many characteristic features of the tree as 
regards foliage, development, and production. All in- 
dications tend to show that a decided improvement has 
taken place in the general condition of the tree in its 
present surroundings, and it is not surprising this 
should be the case when all the circumstances are 
given due consideration. In 1912 an attempt was 
made by Dr. Jacques Huber to differentiate between 



REVIEW OF THE ORIENTAL SITUATION 301 

the trees growing in the Orient and those found in the 
vicinity of the River Tapajoz ; but in his report to the 
Governor of Para on this subject he states his inability 
to afford any accurate definition of the changes that 
have occurred without first making a detailed investiga- 
tion of the district in the Amazon Valley whence the 
seed for the Eastern industry originated. 

In one place only is the black Hevea known to exist in 
the Orient. On the Pasir Oetjing Estate, near Bandoeng 
in Java, some 120 trees, now fourteen years of age, are 
to be seen. They were obtained through the assistance 
of M. Eugene Poisson in 1889, and forwarded by him 
to Paris ; the seeds were there germinated, and the sur- 
viving plants were shipped to Java in 1890, and planted 
at Pasir Oetjing. The following extract from the 
Journal d' Agriculture Tropicale (published in Paris) on 
May 31, 1904, in connection with M. Poisson's investi- 
gations concerning the black variety of Hevea Brasiliensis, 
is most interesting reading : 

" Nous les avons encadres de deux passages qui s'y 
rattachent extraits de 1'excellent Rapport de M. Eugene 
Poisson sur sa mission au Bresil, aux Antilles et au 
Costa- Rica, public dans le tome X. (1902) des * Nouvelles 
Archives des Missions scientifiques.' 

" Le premier passage (pp. 7 et 8 du tirage a part) se 
rapporte au premier voyage, accompli de FeVrier a 
Juillet 1898, 1'autre (pp. 24, 25) au deuxieme voyage 
accompli de D^cembre 1898 a Octobre 1899. Ce qui y 
est dit incidemment du Mangabeira, confirme l'appr- 
ciation que nous avons donne de cet arbre dans le 
chapitre correspondant de notre traduction annote des 
Plantes a caoutchouc de Warburg. 



302 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

" Pour ce qui est de 1'Hevea, on remarquera que 
M. Poisson n'ose pas se prononcer sur la question de 
savoir s'il s'agit de variety's ou d'especes nettement 
de*finies. Le doute ne tardera pas a etre leve", la 
maison Godefroy-Lebeuf ayant pu se procurer des 
graines des deux Hevea. Grace a son initiative, ils 
vont prendre place dans les cultures mdustrielles ainsi 
que dans les collections scientifiques. D'ici quelques 
anne*es, on les verra fleurir et fructifier ; on pourra 
semer les graines recueillies, et on sera de'fmitivement 
fixe" sur la Constance et la porte"e taxonomique des 
caracteres. Voici les termes exacts de la description 
qu'en donne M. Eugene Poisson : 

" * Dans les forets avoisinant Para, oil je me suis rendu 
et oil j'ai ve*cu pendant plusieurs jours et a diverses 
reprises pour assister a la re"colte du caoutchouc, j'ai 
appris des Indiens qu'ils distinguaient deux sortes 
d'abres qu'ils appellent 1'Hevea blanc et 1'Hevea noir, 
en raison de 1'apparence plus foncee de Pe*corce et du 
feuillage de 1'un d'eux. II paraitrait que le caoutchouc 
noir donne un latex plus estime" que le blanc et que le 
melange des deux formerait un produit supe'rieur a celui 
qu'on obtiendrait s6pare"ment. Cependant, j'ai la con- 
viction qu'on cherche a e"viter la re"colte sparee de ces 
deux latex parce que cela donnerait plus de peine et 
entrainerait peut-etre une moins-value pour la sorte 
infe"rieure. S'agit-il ici d'especes distinctes ou simple- 
ment de variet^s d' Hevea ? C'est un point a lucider, 
qui a e"te aborde" jusqu'alors sans un r^el succes et dont 
il sera parle" plus loin. 

" ' Les tentatives que j'ai faites pour obtenir des 
rameaux n'ont e"te" que peu fructueuses. Les seringueros 
sont me"fiants et croiraient agir a leur detriment en 



REVIEW OF THE ORIENTAL SITUATION 303 

aidant les Europeans a se renseigner sur des pratiques 
qu'ils se soucient peu de faire connaitre ; d'autre part, 
la difficult^ d'atteindre le sommet d'arbres e'le'ves est 
encore un obstacle a vaincre. 

" ' J'ai dti me contenter de quelques feuilles tombe'es 
de ces arbres, dont la floraison est e'phe'mere et capri- 
cieuse, et de les conserver en herbier, en attendant une 
nouvelle occasion de retourner dans ces parages afin de 
poursuivre ces observations. . . .' 

" Et plus loin : 

" ' Dans la grande ile de Marajo, ainsi que dans les 
autres iles du delta et de la Basse Amazone, y compris 
les territoires du Xingu et du Tocantin, les seringueros 
reconnaissent, dans les Hevea qu'ils exploitent, deux 
sortes d'arbes dont j'avais deja parle dans la premiere 
partie de mon rapport de 1898. Je ne puis assurer que 
ce sont deux especes ou deux varie"tes, n'ayant pu, au 
moment ou je me trouvais au Para, les voir compara- 
tivement en fleur et en fruit, mais les organes de vdgeta- 
tion sont certainement distincts. II est possible que ce 
soit deux races de 1' Hevea brasiliensis; mais, a la simple 
vue, elles sont diffe'rencie'es par la couleur de l'e"corce, 
par le port de feuillage et la nuance de celui-ci : 

" ' i Le Branco, ou blanc, a les feuilles d'un vert 
clair, et elles sont tombantes, larges et longues par rap- 
port a la seconde forme, leur sommet est tres-acumine", 
souvent elles sont tachetes de piqures d'insectes ; les 
folioles pendent presque verticalement et le pe"doncule 
commun est egalement infle"chi ; 

" ' 2 Le Preto, ou noir, pousse plus vite et plus 
droit ; il branche beaucoup plus haut. Sur les jeunes 
arbres comme sur les adultes, le port du feuillage est 
different du Branco. Le petiole commun est ici plutot 



304 THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 

relev6 qu'infle'chi, et il forme meme un coude avec les 
folioles qui sont encore plus releve"es que lui. 

" ' Je n'ai pas remarque" les taches de piqures d'insectes 
frequentes sur le Branco, et peut-etre peut-on attribuer 
ce fait a une plus grande resistance de 1'epiderme. 

"J'ai pris des photographies de ces deux formes 
d'Hevea. 

" Les seringueros pre"tendent que 1'Hevea noir a un 
latex qui coule plus facilement et qu'il est plus riche en 
caoutchouc que 1'Hevea blanc. II ne m'a pas &t 
possible de controler ces assertions, faute de latex 
suffisant de chacune des deux vari6ts. Un des avan- 
tages de PHevea noir serait de prendre plus facilement 
de bouture que le blanc. 

" J'ai vu un essai de plantation de boutures du Preto 
de i a 2 centimetres de diametre et de 2 metres de long, 
et pas une de ces boutures n'a manqu a la reprise. 
Cependant, je dois dire qu'il m'a paru que les plante 
venus de ces boutures n'avaient pas en general la mme 
vigueur que ceux issus de granes. 

"J'ai vu, a la locality de Maguary, quelques Hevea 
blancs, de 8 ans de plantation et ayant un diametre de 
22 centimetres a 25 centimetres sur 9 metres de haut. 
Entre Benevides et Benfique, chez un proprietaire 
italien, M. Frediana, se trouve une plantation d'Hevea 
et d'arbres fruitiers, et personne dans la contre ne 
semble la connaitre. J'y ai vu, entre autres, 6 Hevea 
noirs planted, il y a onze ans et ayant 95 centimetres 
a 99 centimetres de circonference, a i metre du sol. Ce 
proprietaire a plante en 1896-1898, sur sa concession 
pres de 5,000 Hevea. C'est un domaine qui vaudra 
dans cinq ou six ans 50 a 60 contos." 



INDEX 



ACETIC acid, use of, for coagula- 
tion, 86, 141, 193, 297 

Acheen, Sultan of, 228 

Acre, 12, 32, 34, 37, 79, 90, 98, 
103, 106, 112 

Adam's Peak, 132 

Alianca (Amazon Valley), tapping 
tests at, 84, 85 

Alutgama, 130 

Amazon delta, 27 ; estrada system, 

29 ; tapping, 29 ; prospective 
output, 29 ; labour-supply, 

30 ; treatment of trees, 30 
islands and lowlands of, 27 ; 

abundance of trees, 28 ; poor 
quality of trees, 28 ; inhabi- 
tants, 28 ; overhead tapping, 
32, 67 ; yield, 78 
highlands of, 28; plantations, 
28 ; crops, 28 ; rubber seed- 
lings, difficulties of, 29 
Amazon, River, 6, 10, 47, 98 
Amazon Steam Navigation Com- 
pany, 98 
Amazonas, 18, 20, 105, 106, 113, 

114 
Amsterdam, cost of shipments to 

(Sumatra), 257 
(Java), 287 
Anaemia, 13 
Andes, 36 

Anglo-Malay Company, 220, 222 
Ant, white [termes], (Amazon Val- 
ley), 40, 49 ; (Ceylon), 134 ; 
(Malay Peninsula), 168 ; 
(Sumatra), 237, 252 
red (&codoma cephalotes], 40, 

49-50, 124 
Antwerp, cost of shipments to 

(Malay Peninsula), 224 
(Sumatra), 257 

20 305 



Anuradhapura, 132 
Aquiry, River, 6 
Arabs (Java), 276, 277 
Araguaya, River, 6, 23, 102 
Asahan, 228, 229, 231, 233, 234, 

235. 254 

Atmosphere, effect of, on bark ex- 
cision (Amazon Valley), 80 
(Ceylon), 142 
" Avenue planting," 212 
Aviadores, 59, 61, 100 
Axioma (Amazon Valley), tapping 

tests at, 84 
Ayer Panas Estate, 222 

Balls (pelles). See Pelles 
Bandoeng, 261, 262, 265, 301 
Bangoewani, 261, 262, 274, 285 
Banjar, 261, 262, 285 
Banjasari, 262, 284, 285 
Banjoemas, 261, 262, 284, 285 
Bantam, 261, 262, 285 
Barbadoes, 14 
Bariguda, 4 
Bark disease (Amazon Valley), 40, 

4i 43- 8 
(Ceylon), 134 
(Java), 284 
Bark, renewal of, 74, 142, 160, 

214 

Batak Rabit Estate, 222 
Batavia, 261, 262, 286 
Bates, " Naturalist on the Amazon," 

49 

Batoe-Bahra, 229, 234 
Batoe La wan, 262, 285 
Batu Caves Company, 220 
Batu Gajah, 179, iSo 
Baud, 262 
Beans, 62, 63 
Belawa, 229 



306 



THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 



Belmont Estate, 219 

Benevides, 304 

Benfique, 304 

Beni, River, 6, 7, 12, 23, 34, 35 

Bentong, 179, 180 

Benzine, solubility of rubber in, 2 

Beri-beri, 12 

Bernham Estate (Perak), 219 

Besoeki, 261, 263, 264, 274 

Bila, River, 229, 230, 233, 235, 

253. 254 

Blackstone engines, 192 
Black water fever, 12 
Blankahan Estate, 254 
Bolivia, 5, 6, 7, 12, 14, 18, 27, 34, 

35,37,54,61,79,98, 103, 112 
Bolivians, 13 

Booth Steamship Company, 6, 48 
Borer (Amazon Valley), 40, 48-9, 

66, 69, 124 
(Ceylon), 134 
Borneo, 185 
Boundaries, definition of (Amazon 

Valley), 16 
Bovis, Mr. A., 265 
Brahminism (Java), 277 
Brain, Mr. Lewton, 168 
Branca (white variety of Hevea 

Brasiliensis, 3, 28, 120, 302, 

303, 304 

Branching, early, 154-5 
Brazil, 20, 24, 29, 37, 49, 62, 112 
Brazilians, 13, 54, 60, 112, 122 
Bridge patent (machines), 192 
British Guiana, 54 
British North Borneo, nominal 
capital of companies exploiting, 
185 

Bubonic plague, 280 
Buddhism (Java), 277 
Buitenzorg, 261, 262, 264, 265 
Bukit Rajah Company, 182, 194, 

219, 220, 222 

Bungalows (Ceylon), cost of build- 
ing, 135 
(Malay Peninsula), 216; cost 

of building, 188 
(Sumatra), cost of building, 

241 

(Java), 269 
Burgess knife, 124, 214 



j Burmah, 185 

I Burrs, formation of, 168 

Cables (Amazon Valley), 23 
Cacao, cultivation of (Amazon 
Valley), 7 

(Ceylon), 133 

(Java), 273 
Cachoeira, 36 
Calcutta, 54 

Caledonia Estate, 219, 222 
Cambium rot (Amazon Valley), 40, 
41, 43-4, 47-8, 65, 69, 74, 
80, 82 

(Ceylon), 134, 284 
Canker (Amazon Valley), 40, 41 

(Ceylon), 134 

(Java), 284 

Canoes, 22, 24, 29, 31, 99 
Canton, 187 
"Caoutchouc," 2 
Carbolineum Plantarium, use of, for 

decay, 46 

Carey United Company, 220 
Castilloa elastica, 3, 5, 34, 35, 71-2, 

79, 102, 103, 112, 120, 126, 164, 
264, 265 

Cataracts, 22, 36 

Catch crops (Ceylon), 140 

(Malay Peninsula), 212, 213 
(Sumatra), 236, 252-254 

Sava), 265, 281-2 
y, 3, 5, 27, 34, 35, 72, 79, 

80, 102, 103, 112, I2O 

Ceara, 5, 14, 32, 35, 52, 53, 54, 76, 
121, 164, 264, 265 

Cedar, red, 7 

Ceylon : growth of trees in, 73 ; no 
direct taxation in, 108 ; proposed 
school of tropical agriculture, 129; 
separated from Madras Presi- 
dency, 129; agricultural industry 
of, 129 ; sap disease in coffee 
plantations of, 129 ; cultivation 
of cinchona and tea in, 130; of 
rice, cacao, and coconuts in, 133 ; 
Government Department of 
Agriculture, 146 ; Government 
Medical Officers, 161 ; nominal 
capital of companies exploiting, 
185 



INDEX 



307 



Chaffee and Haskins, 2 
Changkat Salak Estate, 219, 222 
Children as labourers (Amazon 

Valley), 57-8, 122 
(Ceylon), 138, 141, 161 
(Malay Peninsula), 204 
(Java), 282 

Chinese (Malay Peninsula), 167, 
i/o, 173. 182, I95> 206, 207, 
208, 209, 212, 215 
(Sumatra), 231, 249, 250, 251 
(Java), 276, 277 

Cicely Company, 182, 219, 220, 222 
Cinchona, 130 ; collection of bark, 

Clay, use of, as check to borer, 49 

Cleaning, cost of, on new planta- 
tions (Sumatra), 241 
(Java), 269 

Cleanliness : importance of, in pre- 
venting tree disease, 48 ; lack of, 
arrests development, 74 ; not 
practised by collectors, 75, 93 ; 
attention given to, in East, 124 ; 
none in Brazil, 124; dependent 
on supervision, 210 

Climate (Amazon Valley), 10, 92, 

99 

(Java), 274 
Coagulation (Amazon Valley), 

method of, 91-4, 125 
(Orient), method of, 124 
(Ceylon), 141 ; experiments to 

produce, by smoking process, 

143 
(Malay Peninsula), process, 

192-3 

(Sumatra), process, 246 
Coast (beri-beri), 179 
"Coast advances" (Ceylon), 136 
Coast-town hospital, 179 
Coca, 273 
Coconuts (Ceylon), 133 

(Malay Peninsula), 173 
(Java), 273, 276 

Coffee, decadence of industry (Cey- 
lon), 129, 130 
(Malay Peninsula), 166, 167, 

177 

Coffee, Liberian (Sumatra), 254, 
257 



| Coffee, Quillou (Java), 281, 285 I 
Robusta (Malay Peninsula), 
212 

(Sumatra), 229, 236-7, 

238, 252 

(Java), 265, 277, 281, 285 
Uganda (Java), 281, 285 
Collection (Ceylon) : working costs 
of, 137 estimated future, 139 
(Malay Peninsula), proportion- 
ate cost of, to pound of rub- 
ber, 126 ; working costs of, 
189, 221 ; estimated future, 
223 
(Sumatra), working costs of, 

242 ; estimated future, 256 
(Java), working costs of, 271, 

272, 286 

Collectors (Amazon Valley): poverty 
of, 28 ; lack of supervision over, 
29 ; allotment of cstradas to, 31 ; 
rule as to overhead tapping, 32 ; 
employment of, 38 ; careless use 
of machadinho by, 48 ; their free- 
dom from restraint, 55 ; temporary 
partners with owners, 56, 75, 
122 ; supervision of their work 
entrusted to fiscales, 57 ; cheated 
by regatones, 58 ; accustomed to 
supply working implements, 65 ; 
description of their work, 66; 
careless as to cleanliness, 75 ; 
hardships of, 75-76 ; precarious 
position of, 88 ; monthly require- 
ments of, analyzed, 89 ; compared 
with Oriental tappers, 91 ; hard- 
ships of, in coagulating-shed, 92 ; 
practice as to delivery of rubber, 
96; cost of clothing, etc., 1 08 
Colombia, 6, 27, 34 
Colombians, 13 

Colombo, 130, 138, 141 ; charges 
per pound from, to London, 139; 
exports from, in 1913, 164 ; esti- 
mated, for 1914-1919, 165 ; price 
of rubber in, compared with Lon- 
don, 191 
Colombo Commercial Company, 

137 

Colonization, difficulties of (Amazon 
Valley), 9 



308 



THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 



Congo, 291 

Consolidated Malay Company, 220 

Consular fees (Amazon Valley), 101 

Cordillera, 8 

Costa, da, records of, kept at Santa 

Maria Estate, 86, 88 
Credit. See Truck system 
Creping machines, 137, 141, 192, 

194 
Crime (Amazon Valley), 58 

(Sumatra), 253 

(Java), 280 

Crossley and Co., 137 
Crossley engines, 192 
Culloden Estate (Ceylon), 145 
Cultivation (Ceylon), working costs 
of, 137, estimated future, 

139 

(Malay Peninsula), working 
expenses of, 189, 221, esti- 
mated future, 223 

(Sumatra), working expenses 
of, 242, estimated future, 
256 

(Java), working expenses of, 

271, 286 

Curing (Ceylon), estimated future 
expenses of, 139; convenience 
of present process, 143 

(Malay Peninsula), working 
expenses of, 189, 221, esti- 
mated future, 223 

(Sumatra), working expenses 
of, 242, estimated future, 
256 

(Java), working expenses of, 

271, 286 
Currency, Brazilian, 24-5 

Damansara Company, 220 

Deli, 228, 229, 232, 234, 235 

Devon Estate, 208 

Diarrhoea, 210 

" Die-back," 168, 284 

Diesel engines, 192 

Dindings, 174 

Discipline (Amazon Valley), 31, 

58 

(Ceylon), 162 
: (Sumatra), 253 
(Java), 280 



Diseases, 40 et seq. 
Djember, 261, 262, 285 
Dock dues (Amazon Valley), 100 
Doranakandy, 136, 146 
Drainage (Amazon Valley), as 
remedy for bark disease, 41, 

(Ceylon), cost of, on new planta- 
tions, 135 

(Malay Peninsula), cost of, on 
new plantations, 188 ; work- 
ing costs of, 189, 221, esti- 
mated future, 223 
(Sumatra), cost of, on new 
plantations, 241 ; working 
expenses of, 242, estimated 
future, 256 

(Java), 263; cost of, on new 
plantations, 269 ; working 
costs of, 271, 286 
Dry season (Amazon Valley), 99, 

121 

Dryers, mechanical, 194; vacuum, 
137, 141, 194, 275 ; artificial, 194 
Dysentery, 12, 210, 230, 280 

Ecuador, 6, 27, 34 

Ecuadorians, 13 

Education (Amazon Valley), lack 

of, amongst children, 58 
(Malay Peninsula), public 

schools, 217 
Entre fina, 3, 5, 101, 102, 103, 

112 

Estrada system, 29 
Export duty (Amazon Valley, 18- 
19, 101, 105, 106, 107, 109, 
114, 115, 116,128 
(Malay Peninsula), 107, 170, 
221 ; proportionate cost of 
to pound of rubber, 126 
(Java), none on rubber ship- 
ments, 266, 286 

Factory (Ceylon), cost of building, 

I35 137 

(Malay Peninsula), 191, 192 ; 
cost of building, 188 

(Sumatra), 246; cost of build- 
ing, 241 

(Java), 269 



INDEX 



309 



Farinha. See Mandioca 
Federated Malay Company, 220 
Federated Malay States, growth of 
trees in, 73 ; cost of planting 
trees in, 166 ; export duties, 170, 
176; rubber acreage, 172; fixed 
charges for agricultural lands, 
T 75 general revenue, 176 ; rain- 
fall in, 178-80 ; nominal capital 
of rubber- producing companies, 
185 
Federated Selangor Company, 182, 

220 

Felling and lopping (Ceylon), cost 
of, on new plantations, 135, 
140 
(Malay Peninsula), 187 ; cost 

of, on new plantations, 188 
(Sumatra), cost of, on new 

plantations, 241 
(Java), 281 ; cost of, on new 

plantations, 269 
Ficus-trees, 231, 264, 265, 289, 

290 
"Fine hard Pard," 3, 4, 5, 34, 

101, 102, 103, 112, 297, 300 
Fi scales, 57 
Flies, 12 
Fluoric acid, use of, for coagulation, 

193 

Fames, 168, 237, 284 
Forest land (Ceylon), cost of, 135 
(Malay Peninsula), cost of 

felling and weeding, 187 
Formic acid, use of, for coagulation, 

193 

Fraca, 4, 5, 28, 101, 102, 103, 120 
Fracafina, 4 

Freight rates (Amazon Valley), 99, 
100, 101, 109, 127 

(Ceylon), 139 

(Malay Peninsula), 127, 194 

(Sumatra), 243, 257 

(Java), 275, 287 
Freudweiler, Mr., 246 
Fungus (Ceylon), 134 

Galle, 130 

Galvez, Colonel, 37 

Gardens, 30 

Gedong Estate, 219, 222 



Glen More, 262, 285 

Godefroy-Lebeuf, Mr., 265 

Golconda Company, 220 

Golden Hope Company, 220 

Goma, 3 

Goodyear, Charles, 2 

Gouge, 42, 69, 77, 80-8, 124; bent, 

42, 65, 67, 214 
Grading (Amazon Valley), 100, 101, 

102, 298 

Grand Central Company, 136 
Guapore, River, 6, 23 
Guiana Mountains, II 
Guttapercha, 290 

Hai Kee Estate, 222 
Hamburg, cost of shipments to, 224 
Henaratgoda, "No. 2" tree, 73, 
146-8, 150, 154, 155, 158 ; Cey- 
lon Government gardens at, 86, 

133, H6, 147, 158 
Herring-bone system of tapping : 

full, 42, 65, 67, 77, 80, 82, 86, 

87, 123, 141 ; half, 42, 82 
Heve. See Hevea 
Hevea Brasilitnsis, 3, 28, 40, 164, 

167, 235, 264, 265, 298, 303. 

See also Preta, Branca, and 

Vermelho 

Hevea Guayanenszs, 3, 4, 120 
Hevea Sprue -tana, 3, 4 
Highlands and Lowlands Company, 

220 
" Historia Universal de las Indias" 

of Orviedo y Valle, I 
Holing, lining, and filling, cost of, 
on new plantations (Ceylon), 

135, 137 

(Malay Peninsula), 188 
(Sumatra), 241 
(Java), 269 

Holland-American Company, 231 
Hong- Kong, 182, 184, 267 
Hornsby and Co., 137 
Hornsby engines, 192 
Hospitals (Ceylon), 161 

(Malay Peninsula), proportion- 
ate cost of, to pound of rubber, 
126 ; cost of, on new planta- 
tions, 1 88 ; working costs of, 
189, 221 ; provision of, 216 ; 



THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 



estimated future expenses of, 
223 

Hospitals (Sumatra), 250 ; cost of, on 
new plantations, 242, work- 
ing expenses of, 242, esti- 
mated future, 256 
(Java), cost of, on new planta- 
tions, 269 ; working expenses 
of, 271 ; Government regula- 
tions concerning, 270 

Huber, Dr. Jacques, 116, 168, 296, 
300 

Igarape-Assu, II 

Immigration, Indian, Superinten- 
dent of, 195, 196 
Import duty (Amazon Valley), 19- 

20, 59, 114, 115, 116, 128 
(Ceylon), 131 
Inca period, 35 

Inch Kenneth Company, 182, 220 
India, nominal capital of companies 

exploiting, 185 
Indians (Amazon Valley), 13, 14, 

35, 39, 52, 68 
(Ceylon), 161 
(Malay Peninsula), 171, 195, 

207 

Indiarubber, origin of name, 2 
Inundations, 9, 177 
Ipoh, 1 80 
Iquitos, 6, 8, 12, 14, 23, 34, 36, 

38, 103 

Italian immigrants (Amazon Val- 
ley), 14, 54 
Itapiru, 4 

Jary, River, 7 

Java : treatment of tree diseases in, 
46 ; growth of trees in, 73 ; no 
direct taxation in, 108 ; agricul- 
tural industry of, 260 ; cultivation 
of coffee, tea, and cinchona in, 
260 ; leaf disease in coffee planta- 
tions, 260 ; production of tea 
compared with Ceylon, 260 ; cin - 
chona, 261 ; soil of, 263 ; land ten- 
ure, 266 ; land tax, 266 ; general 
revenue of, 266 ; nominal capital 
of rubber-producing companies, 
267 ; population, 276 



Javanese, 195, 201, 207, 215, 217, 
249, 250, 251, 270, 277 ; form 
of agreement relating to labourers, 

202 

Javary, River, 7, 79, 90, 103 

Jebong knife, 214 

Johore, 169, 170, 172, 173, 174, 

176, 178, 213 
Journal d Agriculture Tropicah of 

May 31, 1904, 265, 301 
Jugra Estate Company, 220 
Jurua", River, 6, 12, 22, 27, 30, 32, 
,36,53,56,57.66,67,79,90, 



, 103 
Jutahy, River, 79 

Kadjang, 180, 219 

Kalidjeroek, 262, 285 

Kaliminger, 285 

Kalisat, 261 

Kalutara, 130, 131, 138, 142, 145, 

160 

Kamuning, 190, 219, 220; Com- 
pany, 220, 222 
Kandy, 130, 132 
Kanganies, 161, 162, 197, 198, 

199, 200, 201 
Kedah, 169, 172, 173, 174, 176, 

178 

Kediri, 261, 264 
Kelani Valley, 131, 132, 138, 142, 

1 60 ; Planters' Association, 44 
Kelantan, 169, 172, 173, 174, 176, 

178, 206 

Kent plantation, 194, 219 
Kiara Pagoeng, 262, 285 
Kiliminger, 261, 262 
Klang, 179, 180, 208, 21 1,219, 265 
Knapsack, 92, 93, 95, 96, 102 
Krawang, 261 
Kuala Kangsar, 179, 219 
Kuala Kubu, 179, 180 
Kuala Langat, 179 
Kuala Lipis, 180 
Kuala Lumpur, 166, 179, 180 ; 

Company, 218, 219, 220, 222 
Kuala Pilah, 179 
Kuala Selangor, 179, 180 
Kuantan, 179 

Kumendore Estate, 219, 222 
Kurunegala, 130 



INDEX 



Laboean Bilik, 235 

Labour-supply (Amazon Valley), 22, 
30, 32, 33, 35. 39 ; no solu- 
tion offered by State and 
Federal Government, 51 ; 
proposal to introduce Chinese 
coolies, 51-2 ; recruiting- 
ground for, 52, 54 ; how ob- 
tained, 53 ; expense of ob- 
taining, 53 ; unsatisfactory 
conditions of, in Brazil, 54 ; 
as opposed to Bolivia, 54 ; 
relations between master and 
man, 54 ; housing accommo- 
dation, 55 ; lack of hygiene, 
55 ; allotment of work, 56 ; 
wages, 56-7; truck system, 
57 ; women and children, 
57-8 ; truck system and its 
effects, 59-62 ; food-supplies, 
62 ; skilful grading by un- 
educated workmen, 101 ; 
high rate of wages, 118 ; 
comparison of, with Orient, 
118, 122; sources of, 121-2 
(Orient), sources of, 121 ; 

skilled, 121 ; shortage, 296 
(Ceylon), payments for, 138; 
sources of, 161, 162 ; wages, 
161 ; working hours, 162 ; 
food -supplies, 162 ; free 
primary schools, 162 
(Malay Peninsula), 187, 195 
et seq. ; form of agreement 
between employers and 
Javanese labourers, 202 ; 
Chinese, 206, 207 ; skilled, 
209-10 ; housing, 216 ; food, 
217 

(Sumatra), 231-2, 240, 248, 
250 ; working hours, 248 ; 
wages, 248, 249 
(Java), 269, 277, 283 ; wages, 
270, 279 ; bonus system, 
270 ; no contract system in, 
278 ; working hours, 279 

Labu Company, 219, 220, 222 

La Condamine, 2 

Lalang, 174, 187, 188, 189, 283 

Lanadron Company, 220 

Lancewood, 7 



Land, tax on sale of (Amazon Val- 

ley), 18 

Land tenure (Amazon Valley) : criti- 
cism of, 15 ; classification of 
titles, 15 ; survey, 16 ; boun- 
daries, 1 6 ; value of realty 
as negotiable security, 16; 
uncertainty of, a drawback, 
1 6 ; political considerations 
affecting, 17 
(Sumatra), 232 
(Java), 266 

Langen, 261, 284, 285 
| Lankat, 229, 233, 234, 235, 254 
Lard, 62 

Latex (Amazon Valley) : not 
strained, 92 ; crude methods 
of preparation, 93 ; coagula- 
tion in central factories, 93 ; 
smoking process, advantages 
of, 94 ; fumigating, 95 ; cyl- 
inder system, 95, 96 
(Ceylon), curing of, 143 ; pro- 
portion of, to dry rubber, 
159, 160 

Latex cups, 65, 75, 215 
Lauderdale Estate, 219, 222 
Leaf disease, Ceylon coffee planta- 
tions devastated by, 129 
Ledbury Company, 220 
i Lembran9a estate, tapping tests at, 

T ^ 

Lenggong, 179 

Light, effect of, on rubber-trees, 29, 

74, 153-4, 158, 236 
Lima Poeloeh, 234 
Limburg, 261, 262, 285 
Lime, use of, in bark disease, 41 
Lines, coolies' (Ceylon) : cost of 
' building, 135 ; description 

of, 162 
(Malay Peninsula), 216; cost 

of building, 188, 216 
(Sumatra), cost of building, 241 
(Java), cost of building, 269 ; 
Government regulations con- 
cerning, 270 

Linggi, B., 182,208, 219, 220, 222 
j Lipis, 179 

I Liverpool, cost of shipments to, 
(Malay Peninsula), 224 



312 



THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 



Liverpool, cost of shipments to, 
(Sumatra), 257 
^ (Java), 275 
Living, cost of (Amazon Valley), 

89, 122 
(Orient), 122 
London, cost of shipments to, 

(Malay Peninsula), 224 
(Sumatra), 257 
(Java), 275, 289 
London Asiatic Company, 220, 222 

Mabira Forest Company, 220 
Machadinho, 42, 48, 64 et seq. % 77, 

78, 80-5, 124 

Machinery, cost of (Malay Penin- 
sula), 188 
(Sumatra), 241 
(Java), 269 
Madeira-Marmore Railway, n, 13, 

22, 32, 47, 56, 67, 82, 95, 99 
Madeira, River, 6, 9, 10, 22, 27, 

30, 32, 36, 42, 47, 56, 66, 67, 73, 

77, 78, 80, 81, 86, 90, 98, 103, 

123, 124 

Madoera, 274, 276, 278 
Madras, 197, 199, 200 
Madre de Dios, River, 6, 34 
Madura Company, 199 
Maguary, 304 
Mahomedanism (Java), 277 
Maize, 28, 62, 63 
Malacca, 169, 170, 172, 174, 176, 

177, 211, 219, 222 

Malacca Company, 220 

Malang district (Java), 70, 261, 

262, 285 

Malaria (Amazon Valley), 12, 13 
(Ceylon), 160 
(Malay Peninsula), 210 
(Sumatra), 250 
(Java), 280 
Malays, 170, 173, 195, 206, 207, 

215, 217, 231, 250, 251 
Mamboel, 262, 285 
Management (Ceylon) : cost of, on 
new plantations, 135 ; work- 
ing costs of, 137, estimated 
future, 139 

(Malay Peninsula), propor- 
tionate cost of, to pound of 



rubber, 126; cost of, on 
new plantations, 188 ; work- 
ing costs of, 189, 221, 
estimated future, 223 
Management (Sumatra), cost of, on 
new plantations, 242 ; work- 
ing costs of, 242, estimated 
future, 256 

(Java), cost of, on new planta- 
tions, 269 ; working costs of, 
271, 286 

Manaos, 5, 9, 10, II, 12, 14, 16, 
22, 23, 24, 27, 37, 42, 47, 53, 
54, 56, 60, 93, 95, 97, 98-102, 
104, 106, 108, 112, 120, 125; 
harbour dues, 106, 107 
Mandioca, 28, 62, 63 
Manihot, 5 
Mantin, 179 

Manure (Ceylon), 132-3, 142; cost 
of, on new plantations, 135 ; 
working costs of, 137, esti- 
mated future, 139 
Java, working costs of, 271, 286 
Marajo, 303 
Maranhao, 14, 52, 121 
Maranon, River, 7 
Marmore, River, 6, 23 
Matale district (Ceylon), 44, 130, 

132, 134, 142 
Matto Grosso, 23, 34, 36, 67, 102, 

103, 105, 1 06, 107, 114 
Mclntosh, Charles, 2 
Medan, 229, 234, 235 
Menes, 261, 262, 263 
Milreis, value of, 25 
Mirary (Amazon Valley), tests of 

density of latex at, 81 
Moisture, amount of, in rubber 

(Amazon Valley), 125 
" Momi " packing-cases, 194 
Mosquito-nets, 216 
Mosquitoes, 12 
Mulattoes (Amazon Valley), 13, 52, 

54 

Mules, 99 

Museo Goeldi, 73, 116 

Mycelium, 43 

Napo, River, 7 

National Coasting Trade Law, 22 



INDEX 



313 



Navigation, impediments to (Ama- 
zon Valley), 22 

Nederlandsche Handel Maatschap- 
Pj. 230, 253 

Negapatam, 197, 199, 200 

Negombo, 130 

Negri Sembilan, 169, 170, 174, 176, 
178, 179, 180, 219, 222 

Negro, River, 10 

Negroes (Amazon Valley), 13, 52, 

54 

Nile, compared with Amazon, 17 
North Hummock Company, 220 
Northway, System of pricking sug- 
gested by, 69-71 
Nova Scotia Estate, 219, 222 

Obidos, 10, ii, 47 

Oil engines (Ceylon factories), 137 

Opium, duty on (Malay Peninsula), 

176 

Orviedo y Valle, I 
Overhead tapping, 32, 67, 68, 

124 

Pack animals, use of, 31, 99 

Padang, 229, 234, 235 

Pahang, 169, 174, 178, 179, 180 

Para, 5, 9, 10, n, 12, 14, 16, 18, 
22, 23, 24, 37, 48, 53, 54, 56, 
60, 73, 93, 97, 98, 102, 104, 105, 
106, 107, 108, 109, 112, 113, 
1 14, 1 16, 120, 125 ; harbour dues. 
107 

Parahyba, 14, 52, 122 

Parasites, 40 

Paris Academy, expedition sent by, 
in 1734, 2 

Pant Buntar, 180 

Pary, River, 7 

Pasir Oetjing, 262, 265, 285, 301 

Pasir Waringen, 285 

Passberg system (vacuum dryers), 
137, 194, 275 

Passerean, 261, 263, 264 

Pataling Company, 182, 220 

Pauhiny, River, 47 

Pegoh Estate, 219, 222 

Pekan, 179, 180 

Pe/ks, 92, 93 95 96, 102 

Penang, 169, 170, 171* 1 7*> *74, 



176, 190, 194. 197, 200, 224, 

229, 245 
Penang Sugar Estates Company, 

213 
Peradenyia Station (Ceylon), 116, 

129, 132, 133, 142, 158 
Perak, 169, 174, 177, 178, 179, 

1 8O, 222 

Perak Company, 22O 

Perkins patent (machines), 193 

Perlis, 174 

Peru, 5, 6, 14, 27, 34, 37 

Peruvians, 13 

Fetch, Mr., Ceylon Government 

mycologist, 44 

Pfleiderer patent (machines), 193 
Pineapples, 213 
Planters' Labour Association (Malay 

Peninsula), 171 

Planting, cost of, on new planta- 
tions (Ceylon), 135 
(Malay Peninsula), 188 
(Sumatra), 241 
(Java), 269 

Poisson, M. Eugene, 301 
Population (Amazon Valley), 13 

(Malay Peninsula), 207 
Port charges (Amazon Valley), 101 
Port office (capatasia), 106, 107 
Port Swettenham, 194, 197, 200, 

224 
Porto Velho, 9, 10, II, 12, 23, 32, 

33, 36, 47. 98 m 
Portuguese immigrants (Amazon 

Valley), 14, 52, 54 
Postal facilities (Amazon Valley), 

24 

P. P. K. Company, 220 

Preangar district (Java), 44, 261, 

285 

Presses, rubber, 194 
Preta (black variety of Hevea Bra- 

siliensis), 3, 120, 265, 300, 301, 

302, 303, 304 
Pricking, 69 ; objection to, 69 ; 

economical, 70 ; labour-saving, 70 ; 

possible difficulties, 71 
Priestly, 2 
Province Wellesley, 169, 172, 174, 

211, 212, 219 

Purds, River, 6, 12, 22, 27, 30, 32, 



314 



THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 



34, 36, 42, 47, 56, 57, 66, 
67. 77. 78, 80, 81, 84, 85, 
88, 89, 90, 98, 103, 123 

Purus (Upper), 53, 79 

Putamayo, 34 

Quinine (Java), use of, 280 

Raffles, Sir Stamford, 276 
Rainfall (Amazon Valley), 8, u, 12, 

30, 64, 81, 121 
(Malay Peninsula), 121, 178- 

80 

(Ceylon), 132, 142 
(Sumatra), 234 
(Java), 262, 263, 283 
Rambong. See Ficus 
Rangkas-Bitoeng, 261, 262, 263 
Rapids, 22, 36 
Raub, 179, 1 80 
Recreio (Amazon Valley), tests of 

density of latex at, 81 
Regatones (Syrian pedlars), 58 
Rent (Malay Peninsula) : propor- 
tionate cost of, to pound of 
rubber, 126 ; estimate of, on 
new estates, 188 ; working 
costs of, 189, 221, esti- 
mated future, 223 
(Sumatra), estimate of, on new 
estates, 241 ; working costs 
of, 242, estimated future, 
256 

(Java), estimate of, on new 
estates, 269; working costs 
of, 271 

Resiliency, high standard of, at- 
tained by black Hevea, 3, 120 
Rice, cultivation of (Ceylon), 133 
(Sumatra), 236 
(Java), 277 

Ridley, Mr. H. N., establishes 
plantations in Malay Peninsula, 
167 

Rio Branco, River, 7, 22, 23 
Rio de Janeiro, 20, 21, 23, 30, 37, 
112, 113; botanical gardens at, 
116 
Rio Grande del Norte, 14, 52, 

121 
Rio Negro, River, 7, 27, 103 



River Plate, 62 

Rivers (Amazon Valley), gradient 
of, 8 ; transport by, 21 

Roads (Ceylon) : poll tax for main- 
tenance of, 131 ; cost of, on 
new plantations, 135 ; work- 
ing costs of, 137 
(Malay Peninsula), propor- 
tionate cost of, to pound of 
rubber, 1 26 ; cost of, on new 
plantations, 188 ; working 
costs of, 189, 221, estimated 
future, 223 

(Sumatra), cost of, on new 
plantations, 241 ; working 
costs of, 242, estimated 
future, 256 

(Java) cost of, on new planta- 
tions, 269 ; working costs of, 
271, 286 

Root canker. See Fomes 

Rotterdam, 275 ; cost of ship- 
ments to (Java), 287 

Roxbury Indiarubber Company, 2 

Rubana Estate, 219, 222 

Rubber boom of 1909, 99, 134-5, 
171, 182, 183, 191, 231, 239, 
240, 264, 266, 268 

Rubber (Brazilian), origin of indus- 
try, i ; earliest uses of, 2 ; 
vulcanization, 2 ; Hevea, 3 
(and see title Hevea) ; output 
from Amazon Valley for year 
to June, 1913, 5 ; Ceara 
rubber, 5 ; Brazilian ship- 
ments, 6 ; area of produc- 
ing districts, 6 ; sole im- 
portant industry of Amazon 
Valley, 7 ; temperature, 10 ; 
rainfall, 1 1 ; land tenure, 
15-17 ; export duty on, 18 ; 
transport, 21-3 ; characteris- 
tic features of Amazon Valley 
industry, 26 ; ditto of Orient 
industry, 26 ; expeditions 
for collecting, erroneous im- 
pression as to, 26-7 ; classi- 
fication of producing dis- 
tricts, 27 ; (Amazon delta 
district, 28 ; life of collectors 
in, 28 ; estrada system in, 



INDEX 



315 



Rubber (Brazilian) continued : 

29 ; Santarem district, 27, 
30 ; wet season in, 30 ; 
organization of industry in, 
30 ; comparison with delta 
district, 30 ; River Madeira 
district, 30 ; profitable nature 
of industry in, 30; per- 
manent buildings in, 30; 
height of trees in, 31 ; 
method of collection in, 
31 ; extent of properties in, 
31 ; tapping restrictions in, 
32 ; resident population in, 
32 ; properties adjoining 
River Madeira district, 33 ; 
comparison of trees in, with 
Ceylon or Malay Peninsula 
trees, 33 ; percentage of trees 
reaching maturity in, 34 ; 
upper rivers district, fine 
hard Para exported from, 

33 ; caucho, supply of, in, 
34 ; annual inundations in, 

34 ; black hevea, growth of, 
in, 34 ; castilloa in, 35 ; col- 
lectors in, 35 ; workmen in, 
35 ; expense of importing, 

35 ; buildings in, 35 ; access 
to, 36 ; cataracts in, 36 ; cost 
of transport in, 36 ; expedi- 
tions from Pacific slopes to, 
37 ;)- diseases, 40 et seq. ; re- 
medies for, 44-6 ; trees, girth 
of forest-grown, in Amazon 
district, 73; age of, 73; 
growth of, planted, 73 ; com- 
pared with Orient trees, 
73-4 ; yield in Amazon dis- 
tricts, 77-88 ; exaggeration 
regarding, 90 ; preparation 
of, appliances for, 91 ; im- 
purities in, 92, 93; advant- 
ages of coagulation by 
smoking process, 94 ; weigh- 
ing of, 96 ; transport of, 98 ; 
cost of transport, 98, 99 ; 
output of, in Amazon Valley 
for year to June, 1913, 102 ; 
classification of output, 102-3; 
estimated output of, for year 



Rubber (Brazilian) continued : 

to June, 1914, 102 ; export 
duties on, 106-7 > average cost 
per pound of, 108 ; details 
of average cost, 108-10, 127 ; 
small profit on total output 
of, 1 10 ; need for reorganiz- 
ing industry, 1 10- 1 1 ; import- 
ance of industry to Brazil, 
in ; production record for 
eighty-six years, 1 1 1 ; weight 
of cases passing th rough Par, 
112 ; Federal Government's 
attitude to, 112 ; steps taken 
by Brazilian Congress to re- 
lieve situation, 113; futility 
of, 114; suggestions for relief 
of industry, 114-16 ; summary 
of, 116-17, 128; non-cultiva- 
tion of trees in Brazil, 119 ; 
comparison with Orient, 
119; area of planted trees 
in Amazon Valley, 120; 
suitability of soil for, 121 ; 
age of producing trees, 122 ; 
height and girth of ditto, 
123; yield of, per tree, 123 ; 
cost of transport to port of 
shipment, 125 ; exportation 
of, in 1913, 126; in 1914 
(estimated), 126. 
(Ceylon), locality of, 130 ; ex- 
tent, 130-1 ; ownership of 
lands, 131 ; land values, 131 ; 
reserve price of land, 131 ; 
title to land, 131 ; taxation, 
131 ; altitude of rubber- 
growing districts, 131 ; rain- 
fall, 132 ; soil, 132 ; manur- 
ing, 132 ; foundation of 
industry, 118, 120, 133; 
interplanted with tea, 133, 
134; grown by Sinhalese, 
133 ; diseases and pests, 134; 
wind, 134; expenditure ne- 
cessary for new plantations, 
I 3S> !36 ; estimated cost of 
factory, 137 ; oil-engines, 
137; creping and washing 
machines, 137 ; working ex- 
penses of six-year-old estate 



THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 



Rubber (Ceylon) continued: 

of 1,000 acres, 137 ; yield of 
ditto, 138 ; wages, 138 ; cost 
of dry rubber f.o.b. Colombo, 
139 ; cost of production, 
J 39J Colombo to London 
charges, 139 ; cost in Lon- 
don market, 143 ; prelim- 
inary work on jungle lands, 
140 ; spacing of trees, 140 ; 
tapping, 141, 142 ; labour- 
supply, 141 ; treatment of 
latex after tapping, 141, 
145 ; price of plantation 
rubber compared with Brazil, 
143 ; curing of latex, 143 ; 
yield, 145-6 ; old Hevea 
plantations at Henaratgoda, 
146 ; the famous " No. 2 " 
tree, 146, 147, 153, 154, 158; 
"No. 439," 154, 155; First 
Plantation, 147, 158; Second 
Plantation, 147, 158 ; River- 
side Plantation, 147, 155, 
158 ; results of tapping on, 
150-2 ; girth of trees, 147-9 '> 
effect of room on, 147-8, 
*53> I 55 158 I earl y branch- 
ing trees, 1 54 ; proportion of 
latex to dry rubber, tables, 
159, 1 60 ; advantage of, 160 ; 
bark renewal, 160 ; future 
production of, anticipations, 

163 ; estimated future cost, 
f.o.b. Colombo, 164 ; Ceard, 

164 ; Castilloa, 164 ; devel- 
opment of industry during 
past ten years, 164 ; exports 
from Colombo in 1913, 164 ; 
estimated exportation for 
next six years, 165 

(Java), comparison with Ceylon 
rubber, 260; extent of es- 
tates, 261 ; their elevation, 
261 ; climatic conditions, 
262-3 ; soil, 263 ; area of 
plantations, 264 ; error of 
Government Agricultural De- 
partment as to, 264-5 5 origin 
of industry, 265 ; land tenure, 
266 ; land tax, 266 ; no 



Rubber (Java) continued : 
*""*" export duty on, 266, 286 ; 
capitalization, 267 ; cost 
of establishing plantations, 
268-9 ; distribution of, 269 ; 
wages and salaries, 270 ; cost 
of maintaining estates, 271 ; 
manuring, 271 ; cost of tap- 
ping, 272 ; yield of, 272 ; 
" all in " cost, 272 ; manage- 
ment, 273 ; language diffi- 
culties, 273 ; spacing of trees, 
274 ; factories, 274 ; hu- 
midity of climate, 274 ; pre- 
paration of latex, 275 ; 
~ . labour-supply, 277-8; wages, 
279 ; working hours, 279- 
80 ; discipline, 280 ; labour 
colonies, 280 ; health condi- 
tions, 280 ; organization of 
plantations, 281 ; catch 
crops, 281 ; effect of inter- 
planting with Robusta coffee, 
281-2 ; weeding, 282-3 ' ta P' 
ping, 283 ; labour conditions, 
283 ; diseases, 284 ; pests, 
284 ; possible extension of 
industry, 284-5 ; yield, 285 ; 
cost of production f.o.b. 
Batavian ports, 286 ; analysis 
of, 286 ; charges from port 
of shipment, 287-8 ; past 
exports, 288 ; estimated 

- future production, 289 ; rail- 
ways and roads, 290 

(Malay Peninsula), origin of 
industry, 166-7 5 healthy con- 
ditions of industry, 168 ; 
diseases and pests, 168 ; cen- 
tres of producing districts, 
169 ; acreage of plantations, 
170-2 ; exports of, tabulated, 
171 ; area under cultivation 
in 1912, 172 ; smallholdings, 
173 ; price of lands, 174 ; 
fixed charges for land in 
F.M.S., 175; taxation of, 

, 176 ; export duties on, 176 ; 
elevation of estates, 176-7 ; 
characteristic varieties of 
soil, 177 ; wind, 177, 178 ; 



INDEX 



317 



Rubber (Malay Peninsula) con- 
tinued : 

rainfall, 178, 179 ; drought, 
1 80 ; temperature, 180 ; 
capitalization of estates, 181, 
184, 185 ; possible develop- 
ments of industry, 181 ; 
classification of estates, 182- 
3 ; over-capitalization, 182 ; 
its effects, 183 ; prospects, 
184 ; cost of establishing and 
maintaining plantations, 186- 
190; quality of, 190; ad- 
ministration of estates, 191 ; 
factories for curing and pre- 
paration of, 191 ; creped 
rubber, 193 ; sheet rubber, 
193 ; water - supply, 193 ; 
mechanical dryers, 194 ; 
packing, 194; labour-supply, 
196 et seq. ; wages, 207-9 5 
working hours, 209 ; health 
conditions, 210; hospitals, 
210 ; organization of estates, 
211-12 ; planting trees, 212 ; 
effect of catch crops on, 
212-13 ' tapping, 214 ; cups, 
215 ; yield per acre, 218-19 ; 
cost of production, 220-3 ; 
estimated future ditto, 225 ; 
" all in " cost, 225 ; freight 
rates, 224 ; yield in tons, 
1906 - 13, 226 ; estimated 
output, 1914-19, 226 
(Sumatra), principal producing 
districts, 229 ; statistics, 230 ; 
expansion of industry for last 
eight years, 231 ; land avail- 
able for, 231 ; tenure of land, 
~+ 232 ; no direct taxation on, 
233 ; elevation of estates, 
233 ; soil, 233 ; rainfall, 234 ; 
temperature, 235 ; origin of 
industry, 235 ; effect of 
catch crops on, 236 ; general 
condition of plantations, 
237; effect of winds, 237; 
value of plantations, 238 ; 
their area, 239 ; capital in- 
vested, 239 ; over-capitaliza- 
tion, 240 ; estimated cost of 



Rubber (Sumatra) continued : 

opening plantation, 240-2 ; 
estimated cost of maintaining, 
j^. 242 ; cost of, per pound f.o.b. 
Sumatra, 243, 255 ; " all in" 
cost, 243 ; advantage to, of 
proximity of Malaya, 244 ; 
ditto of Penang and Singa- 
pore, 245 ; spacing of trees, 
245 ; management of estates, 
245 ; factories, 246 ; labour- 
supply, 248 - 50 ; working 
hours, 248 ; wages, 249 ; 
skilled labour, 250 ; health 
conditions, 250 ; hospitals, 
250 ; organization of estates, 
251; buildings, 251-3'; catch 
crops, 252 ; tapping, 253 ; 
discipline, 253 ; crime, 253 ; 
approximate yield, 254 ; cost 
of production, difficulty of 
estimating, 255 ; analysis of, 

256 ; costs after shipment, 

257 ; estimated " all in " 
cost, 257 ; exportation of, 
since 1906, 258 ; estimated 
output, 1914-19, 258 

Rubber, Oriental : characteristic 
features of industry, 26 ; damage 
to, by creping machinery, 94; 
foundation of industry in 1876, 
118, 120; systematic cultivation 
of trees, 119; area of planted 
trees, 120; cultivation of soil, 
1 20- 1 ; age of producing trees, 
122 ; height and girth of trees, 
123 ; yield of, per tree, 123 ; 
cost of transport to port of ship- 
ment, 125 ; exportation of, in 
1913, 125, in 1914 (estimate), 
126 ; average cost per pound of, 
126-7 > importance of year 1913 
for, 291 ; past production of, 
tabulated, 293 ; consumption and 
production of, 294 ; estimated 
future production of, tabulated, 
295 ; labour question, 296 ; dam- 
age to, by diseases and pests, 
296 ; premium on fine hard Para, 
297 ; variability, 297 ; grading, 
298; resiliency, 299; reduction 



THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 



of " all in " costs, causes of, 299 ; 
black Hevea, 301-4 
Rubber Growers' Association, 297, 
298 

Sagga Company, 220 

Saigon, 185 

Salt, 62 

San Antonio, 98 ; cataract of, 22 

Sandalwood, 7 

Santa Catharina (Amazon Valley), 

tests of density of latex at, 81 
Santa Maria (Amazon Valley), tests 

of density of latex at, 81, 86, 87 
Santarem, 27, 28, 30 
Sao Felipe, 36 
Sauba. See Ant, red 
Savanas, 7 
Scrap (Amazon Valley), 4, 5, 66, 

92, 112, 125 

(Ceylon), 138, 150-2 
(Malay Peninsula), 193 
Seafield Company, 220 
Sekong Company, 220 
Selangor, 169, 174, 177, 178, 179, 

180, 218, 219, 222, 265 
Selangor Company, 182, 220 
Senna Madureira, 23 
Sennah Estates, 246, 248 
Sennah Rubber Company, 254 
Serdang, 229, 234, 235, 254 
Seremban, 179, 180, 219 
Seremban Company, 220 
Seringueiros. See Collectors 
Sernamby, 4, 5, 75, 88, 102, 103 
Servants, domestic (Orient), 121 

(Amazon Valley), 122 
Sevastopol Estate (Amazon Valley), 

tapping tests at, 85 ; records of, 

88 

Shanghai, 182, 184, 187, 267 
Shaw patent (machines), 192 
Shelford Company, 220 
Shipping Convention, 194, 195, 

224 
Silver, da, Dr. Raymundo Pereira, 

H3 

Singapore, 169, 170, 172, 174, 182, 
190, 194, 205, 206, 213, 224, 

.245, 275 
Singapore Para Company, 220 



Singkeh, 206 

Sinhalese, 131, 133, 161, 162, 163 

Small holdings (Malay Peninsula), 

173 

Smallpox (Java), 280 
Social life (Amazon Valley), 24 
Soengei Gerpa, 234, 235, 254 
Soengei Poetih, 234, 235, 254 
Soengei Roean, 234, 254 
Soerabaja, 261, 278, 286 
Soil (Amazon Valley), 17, 121 
(Ceylon), 131, 142 
(Malay Peninsula), 177 
(Sumatra), 233 
(Java), 263 

Solimoes, River, 47, 103 
Spanish immigrants, 14 
Steam-launches, 31, 99 
Straits (Bertam) Company, 220 
Straits Rubber Company, 222 
Straits Settlements : growth of trees 
in, 73 ; tax on production, 108 ; 
assessment tax on trees, 170 ; 
rubber acreage, 172; agricultural 
lands, premium on, 174 ; charges 
for, 175 ; methods of taxation, 
176 ; general revenue of, 176 
Sugar (Amazon Valley), 62 

(Java), 273 

Sugar-cane, 212, 213, 277 
Sulphur, mixture of, with rubber, 2 
Sumatra, growth of trees in, 73 ; no 
direct taxation in, 108 ; nominal 
capital of companies exploiting, 
185 ; land tenure, 232 ; general 
revenue of, 233 ; soil of, 233 ; 
nominal capital of rubber-pro- 
ducing companies, 239 
Sumatra Para Company, 220 
Sungei Kapar Company, 220 
Sungei Siput, 219 
Sunnycroft Estate (Ceylon), 146 
Superintendencia da Defesa de 
Boracha, 113, 114 

Taiping, 179, 180, 219 
Tali Ayer Estate, 219, 222 
Tamil coolies (Ceylon), 138, 161 
(Malay Peninsula), 195-201, 
208, 209, 215, 217 ; Immi- 
gration Fund, 196, 198 



INDEX 



319 



Tampin, 169, 170, 179 

Tanah Besih, 234, 235 

Tandjong Balei, 235 

Tangye engines, 192 

Tapah, 179, i8p 

Tapajoz, River, 6, 22, 30, 36, 47, 

68, 78, 102, 103, 120, 300, 301 
Tapioca, 212 

Tapping (Amazon Valley) : full 
herring-bone system, 42, 65, 
67, 77, 80, 82, 86, 87, 123 ; 
half herring-bone system, 42; 
single V system, 42, 85, 86, 
87 ; wounds due to, 45 ; 
season for, 64 ; tools, 64-5 ; 
description of, 66 ; overhead, 
32, 67, 68, 124; of Castil- 
loa trees, 71-2 ; tests demon- 
strating density of latex, 81 , 
et seq. ; double herring-bone j 
system, 85 ; broad V cuts, 
85 ; machadinkoy see under 
title Jebong, 87 
(Ceylon), herring-bone system, 
141 ; half-spiral system, 141 ; 
single V system, 141 ; fre- 
quency of, experiments in, 
141-2 ; regularity of, 145 ; 
three V system of, 149 
(Malay Peninsula), interfered 
with by burrs, 168 ; com- 
mencement of, 214 ; single 
V system, 214 ; half herring- 
bone system, 214 
(Java), unsatisfactory standard 

of, 283 ; cost of, 286, 287 
See also Gouge 

Taxation (Amazon Valley), 18, 21 
(Ceylon), 131, 160 
(Sumatra), 233 
Taxes, municipal (Amazon Valley), 

101. 107 ; bourse, 107 
Tea (Ceylon), 130, 133, 134 

(Java), 273, 277 

Telok Anson, 179, 1 80, 211, 219 
Telok Dalam, 234, 235, 254, 255 
Temperature (Amazon Valley), 10, 

121 

(Malay Peninsula), 121, 180 
(Sumatra), 235 
(Java), 262, 263 



Tin- mining (Malay Peninsula), 170, 

176, 207 

Tjandjoer, 261, 262 
Tjikadoe, 285 
Tjipari, 261, 262, 285 
Tjirandi, 262, 285 
Tobacco (Amazon Valley), 63 
(Sumatra), 232. 236 
(Java), 273, 277 
Tocantins, River, 6, 22, 23, 36, 

102, 103, 303 

Tools, cost of (Ceylon), 135 
(Malay Peninsula), 188 
(Sumatra), 242 
See also Tapping 

Transport (Amazon Valley) : means 
of, 21, 22, 59, 99; cost of, 
98, 99, 108 
(Orient), 125 

(Malay Peninsula), propor- 
tionate cost of, to pound of 
rubber, 126 ; working ex- 
penses of, 189, 221, esti- 
mated future, 223 
(Ceylon), working costs of, 
137, estimated future, 139 ; 
facilities, 160 

(Sumatra), working expenses 

of, 242, estimated future, 256 

(Java), working expenses of, 

271, 286 

Trees (Amazon Valley) : girth of, 
73, 123 ; approximate num- 
ber of, 120; their age, 73 ; 
effect of light on, 29, 74 ; 
flower in October, 81 ; ap- 
proximate number of, in East, 
1 20 ; age of production, 123 ; 
(Orient), age of production , 

122 ; girth of, 123 
(Ceylon), girth of, 148, 149 
Cost of planting (Malay Pen- 
insula), 166, 188; (Ceylon), 
135 ; (Sumatra), 24 1 ; (Java), 
269 

See also Yields 
Trengganu, 169, 172, 173, 174, 

176 

Trompetas, River, 7 
Truck system (Amazon Valley), 57, 
59-61 



32O 



THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 



Truck System (Bolivia), 61-2 

(Peru), 62 
Tumuc Humac, II 

Ucayale, River, 7, 36 

Ulu Langat, 179 

United Serdang Company, 220 

Urucury nuts, use of, 3, 92, 125, 298 

Vallambrosa Company, 182, 219, 

220, 222, 235 

Vegetation (Amazon Valley), 7, 33 
" Venesta " packing-cases, 194 
Vermelho (red variety of Hevea 

Brasiliensis), 3, 4, 120 
"Vulcanization," 2 

Wages (Amazon Valley), 33, 46, 52, 
59, 82, 98, 109, 122 

(Orient), 122 

(Ceylon), 138, 161, 163 

(Malay Peninsula), 203, 206, 
207-208 

(Sumatra), 249 



(Java), 279 
rdie 



Wardiebrun plantation, 194, 218 

Washing-machines, 137, 141, 192, 
194 

Waterproof coats, 2 

Water-supply (Malay Peninsula), 
bad, 193, 194 

Weeding (Ceylon) : cost of, on 
new plantations, 135, 140 ; 
working costs of, 137, esti- 
mated future, 139 
(Malay Peninsula), 187 ; pro- 
portionate cost of, to pound 
of rubber, 126; expense of, 
diminishes as trees grow, 
127 ; cost of, on new planta- 
tions, 1 88 ; working costs of, 
188, 221, estimated future, 
223 

(Sumatra), cost of, on new 
plantations, 241 ; working 
costs of, 242, estimated 
future, 256 



Weeding (Java), 282-3 '> cost ^ on 
new plantations, 269 ; working 
costs of, 271, 286 
Weighing (Amazon Valley), 96, 

100 

Werner patent (machines), 193 
West Country Estate, 222 
Wickham, Mr., "Father of the 
rubber industry, " 118, 120, 133, 
143, 147, 154, 167, 300 
Wild rubber, 26, 38, 41, 119, 126, 

291 

Willis, Dr., 116 
Wind, growth of rubber -trees 

affected by, 134, 177, 237 
Wireless (Amazon Valley), 23-4 
Women as labourers (Amazon Val- 
ley), 57-8, 122 
(Ceylon), 138, 141, 161 
(Malay Peninsula), 201-3, 2 8 
(Sumatra), 248, 249 
(Java), 279, 282 

Xarque (dried meat), 62, 63 
Xingu, River, 6, 22, 36, 47, 78, 
102, 103, 303 

Yam Seng Company, 220 

Yapura, River, 7 

Yellow fever, 12 

Yields : on the Madeira, 77, 78, 
84 ; on the Puriis, 77, 78, 84 ; 
on the Tapajoz, 78 ; on the 
Xingu, 78 ; in Bolivia, 79 ; on 
the Upper Purus, 79 ; on the 
Jurua, 79 ; on the Jutahy, 79 ; 
on the Javary, 79 ; vary accord- 
ing to season, 81 ; exaggerated 
reports of, 90 ; for the year to 
June, 1913 (Amazon Valley), 102 ; 
(Ceylon), 138, 145-7, 150-2 ; 
estimated future, 163 ; (Malay 
Peninsula), 190, 214, 218, 226; 
estimated future, 226 ; (Sumatra), 
254, 258 ; estimated future, 258 ; 
(Java), 264, 285, 288; estimated 
future, 272, 289 



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