What countries produce the most natural rubber?

What countries produce the most natural rubber?

Natural Rubber (Latex) is one of the most versatile natural materials in the world, making it ideal for a wide range of different applications. But where exactly does rubber come from? And which countries are the biggest producers of rubber? In this article, we’re going to explore both of those questions.

What type of climate is needed to grow natural rubber?

Back at the start of the 20th century, Brazil was nearly the sole producer of the entire world’s rubber needs, producing 99% of the world’s rubber supply. These days, Brazil produce’s >1% of the world’s rubber, with 80% of rubber plantations now found in Asia. But what is it about these countries that make them such great producers of rubber?

One of the key conditions required to grow the rubber tree is a hot climate, with a constant temperature of 28°C (with little variation between season’s) seen as ideal; Temperature is one of the most important factors when growing natural rubber.

Annual rainfall is another key factor in the successful production of rubber; 60-78 inches of rainfall is required annually for rubber trees to grow to their full potential. Rubber trees also prefer deep soil that is able to easily absorb rainfall, but has good drainage and is resistant to flooding. 

Which countries make the most natural rubber?

Countries with the preferred climate for producing natural rubber tend to be found primarily in South America, Africa and Southeast Asia. Around 85-90% of rubber tree farms across these continents are small businesses, owned and run by farming families. These farmers process the latex into a powder, block, sheet or other form before shipping to larger rubber supply companies. 

1. Thailand

Thailand is currently the largest producer of natural rubber than any other country in the world. In 2020 alone, they produced roughly 4,500 metric tons of natural rubber!

2. Indonesia

Following closely behind Thailand, Indonesia is the second largest producer of natural rubber, with 3,000 tons of natural rubber coming from the Southeast Asian country.

3. Vietnam

While Thailand and Indonesia both saw a decrease in rubber production between 2019 and 2020, Indonesia increased their output from 1,100 metric tons in 2019 to 1,200 in 2020. 

4. Ivory Coast

Although they produce a very small amount of rubber compared to other countries, the Ivory Coast comes in as the 4th largest producer of rubber in the world. They produced about 800 tons of natural rubber in 2019, increasing to about 900 metric tons by 2020.

5. China

A well-known global producer of many different products, China comes in as the 5th largest producer of natural rubber in the world, producing 800 tons of natural rubber in 2019 and 700 tons in 2020. 

Has anything happened to affect where rubber has come from?

In recent years, rubber-producing countries have seen a good deal of supply chain disruptions that have affected factories and manufacturers across the globe. COVID-19 related delays and shutdowns have created delays in supply chains, and in 2019 a typhoon called Storm Pabuk wreaked havoc across Thailand, causing hundreds of millions in damages and leading to the shutdown of all docks across the country, preventing key exports.  

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