Diogo Esperante is Executive Director of APABOR the NR Farmers and Processors Association of São Paulo/Brazil.
He is responsible for the Statistical Monitoring Program of the National Association of Natural Rubber Producers in Brazil (ABRABOR).
Post graduated in Project Management and have been active in the Brazilian NR industry for the past 10 years.
Over the year of 2018, Brazil has improved its domestic production of Natural Rubber. The country has about 257 thousand hectares of planted area with 152 thousand hectares under production.
Even though, there are states (with low productivity rates) that are reducing its areas, like Mato Grosso (MT) and Bahia (BA), traditional regions like São Paulo, and upcoming ones like Goiás-GO ( with higher productivity rates), have shown good area expansion. For that, production of Natural Rubber in the country is increasing and have reached, according to the national statistics institute IBGE, about 187 thousand tonnes of dry rubber in 2017.
Although the country’s production is raising (and expected to achieve 255 thousand hectares planted with 160 tapping and 95 thousand hectares to enter tapping in the next 7 years) it’s still no match for it’s booming consumption.
With demand exceeding domestic production, 53% of all natural rubber consumed in the country (about 213 thousand tones) need to be sourced in other nations.
For Block-rubber, Indonesia and Thailand represents about 80% of it. On Centrifuged Latex, Thailand alone constitutes 60% of all Brazilian imports.
But this big concentration on South East Asian Countries might be changing. This movement has started with latex. About 3 years ago began a surge of Guatemala latex in the Brazilian market that took Vietnam’s market share in a rapid upraise.
Since other countries in the region are also expanding in production, like Colombia that for the next 5 years will expand its tapping area in about 60 thousand hectares, we might consider that this trend could pick up also in block rubber, specially do to regional Tax Incentives between the countries and cheaper transportation costs.
On 2018 was the first year that Brazil imported block-rubber from Colombia, about 324 tones. Although small quantity it shows that companies are on the look to, not only, diversify their sources of import but also preferably buying local.
The expansion of Natural Rubber in Latin America call for regional plans and integration of markets. If Brazilian consumption of merely 400 thousand tons a year already is creating lots of opportunities for good business, imagine if the United States demand, of more than 1,5 million tons would start to take hold of all the continent’s strategical advantages for natural rubber production?