Palembang, S Sumatra (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) said that the government has been attempting to find ways to increase the price of natural rubber of Indonesian farmers, one of which is by ordering the use of rubberized asphalt for asphalt road construction.

The government had also approached Malaysia and Thailand for reducing the rubber supplies to the world`s market, he told local rubber farmers in Lalang Sembawa Village, Sembawa Subdistrict, Banyuasin District, South Sumatra Province, on Saturday.

As the world`s main rubber producers, Indonesia has asked Malaysia and Thailand to help reduce the rubber supplies to the world`s market, but negotiating with foreign countries is not always easy, he stated.

Apart from that, Jokowi noted that the price of rubber has gone up over these past two weeks.

"In the past, a kilogram of rubber was sold at Rp5 thousand to Rp6 thousand. But now, its price is recorded at Rp8.9 thousand to Rp9 thousand per kilogram. We need to be thankful for this improving condition by considering the fact about the world`s economic instability," he remarked.

He, however, added that the price of rubber would not be like this forever and would return to normal.

In absorbing more rubber from local farmers into the Indonesian market, Jokowi revealed that he had instructed the Minister of Public Works and People`s Housing to use the commodity in combination with asphalt and make use of the rubberized asphalt for road construction.

The uses of rubberized asphalt had been tested in road construction projects in provinces such as South Sumatra, Riau, and Jambi. Although the price of rubberized asphalt was more expensive than that of the ordinary one, the results were remarkable.

"That is okay. Just purchase the local rubber," stated Jokowi, who has even instructed authorities in all provinces to use the rubberized asphalt to free Indonesia from relying on the world`s rubber market.

Indonesia should also develop industries that could absorb its domestic rubber, so that the commodity would not be controlled by global market players, he explained.

The incumbent president also remarked that the state-owned plantation firms have been instructed to purchase the local farmers` rubber and maintain it as their stock, which could be released to the global market if this commodity`s price increased.

During the meeting with local rubber growers, Jokowi was accompanied by First Lady Iriana Joko Widodo and several cabinet ministers, including Coordinating Economic Minister Darmin Nasution and Public Works and People`s Housing Minister Basuki Hadi Muljono.

According to the, "rubber price decreased 4.30 JPY/kilogram, or 2.30 percent to 182.70 on Friday (March 8) from 187 in the previous trading session".

Reporting by Joko Susilo, Rahmad Nasution

Reporter: Antara
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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