Near the PaAuk monastery, workers are currently pressing the collected rubber into latex mats. The people live directly on site between the rubber trees.
Mostly the whole family, children, grandparents and other relatives live in the forest for the time of the latex harvest. The workers have usually built a simple house made of bamboo and palm fronds, on stilts to protect them from snakes and other animals. Water and food has to be organised on foot from one of the surrounding villages.
As soon as a tree is seven years old, it can be scratched and tapped. The advantage of rubber trees is that the bark grows back again and again and they can survive despite being pricked.
The farmers earn about 10,000 kyat a day. That is about 6.50 euros. In return, they have to start in the middle of the night and stop working after noon because the latex is less easy to process.
The rubber is sold to wholesalers in Mawlamyaing and then to China. | Myanmar