Living in a small urbanised state like Penang means that I do not get to see rubber trees any more. But it so happened that on my way to Lunas recently, I passed by this smallholding and stopped to have a closer look.
As luck would have it, I met this lady busy at work on one of her rubber trees. She said that there were about 200 trees in her estate and she would tap the trees on alternate days. How long would it take her to go through 100 trees, then? Slightly over an hour, she said. She taps and collects the coagulated latex at the same time.
The bark would grow back in about two years, she said, and she can then re-tap the same tree for more latex. According to her, the trees in the smallholding are about 30 to 40 years old,
I peered down one of the cups. Quite a lot had been collected already.