Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing (PUPR) is ready to purchase and absorb rubber products from farmers to be used in a mixture of rubber asphalt believed to be superior to conventional asphalt.

PUPR Minister Basuki Hadimuljono made the statement on Thursday, saying that apart from having advantages over conventional asphalt, the use of rubber asphalt will help absorb the people`s rubber that is currently priced at as low as Rp6 thousand per kilogram (kg).

"At present, the amount to be absorbed and the price is still being calculated by the Directorate General of Highways," Minister Hadimuljono revealed.

In addition, he said, the Ministry of PUPR had used rubber asphalt for paving roads at several locations, including in South Sumatra Province.

The mixture of natural rubber and asphalt increases the quality of asphalt pavements, in terms of service age and resistance to grooves.

During the 2018-2019 period, the Ministry of PUPR conducted the preservation of 125 km of the Muara Beliti-Tebing Tinggi-Lahat Road using a budget of Rp30.55 billion.

Of the total length, rubber asphalt of four-centimeter thickness was used in 5.3 km of the road.

Earlier trials were conducted on the use of rubber asphalt on the road coating in Lido, Sukabumi, West Java, with natural rubber content of seven percent.

As much as 4.2 kilograms of natural rubber can be added to a ton of hot paved mixture.

Indonesia is one of the largest natural rubber producers in the world. Every year, Indonesia`s natural rubber production reaches 3.2 million tons, of which 0.6 million tons are utilized by the domestic industry, while 2.4 million tons are exported abroad.

As a result of a decline in the global economic conditions, the demand for exports of domestic natural rubber declined significantly, so the price of natural rubber fell and that led to rubber farmers incurring losses.

To deal with such problems, the government has issued a national policy on the use of natural rubber by various sectors, including one of them being the use of natural rubber in the construction of PUPR infrastructure. By doing so, the rubber prices will improve again.

Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR) Commission IV Deputy Daniel Johan had earlier noted that his party will continue to encourage the central government to enact policies on the application of rubber-asphalt mixes for the construction of all roads in Indonesia.

"At present, the use of rubber-asphalt mixes is being discussed at the central (government) level. We hope that the government and DPR would formulate this together, so that it can be implemented immediately," Johan noted in Pontianak.

Reporting by Muhammad Razi Rahman, Eliswan Azly

Reporter: Antara
Editor: Andi Abdussalam
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