A day in the life of a Thai rubber farmer

In Thailand, we were able to increase the share of renewable materials to nearly 40 percent, thanks in great part to our MAM Friends. Rubber farmers such as Uthan Bunglesin make a decisive contribution to this.

It’s the middle of the night in the dense Thai rubber forest as a new work day starts for Uthan. “The most productive harvest time is from midnight to the early morning hours,“ explains the 39-year-old. “The most important thing is patience.” The milky, natural latex is harvested by cutting the bark of the rubber tree and is later prepared for further processing. Uthan has been working with rubber trees for nearly 15 years and is always learning something new. “In the beginning, my brother-in-law taught me a lot about the equipment and methods. It takes a lot of ­knowledge to keep the trees going as long as possible,” he says. “It’s a family tradition for me: I had been watching for years and now I am harvesting myself – that makes me proud.”

For MAM in the forest and factory

In January 2016, Uthan applied for work at the MAM subsidiary Thaimed. Since then he has not only worked as a contract latex supplier for MAM, he is also employed in the Hat Yai ­facility. He works in maintenance and, as needed, in production where he helps with making the plaster moulds for the MAM Friends. Unlike the work with the rubber trees, which pauses during the rainy season and in ­summer, there is always something to do in production. “My work week lasts from Monday to ­Saturday,” says the MAM employee. “Everyone here is friendly and ­caring and they always listen to what I have to say. My wife and many of my ­relatives work here. This company is like a family for us.”

Everyone wins

Apart from his work at MAM, Uthan likes to spend his free time with his eight-year-old daughter Natchaya, who has recently started attending a nearby school. They watch cartoons together, draw or sometimes take a nap. The ­father brought one of the brand new MAM Friends home for his daughter. “She’s of course too old for a teether but she plays with it like a doll. Sometimes it even has to be our house pet,” laughs the amiable Thai. As a latex farmer and factory worker, he hopes that people around the world buy MAM products: “The parents benefit from the quality, the manufacturer and we the ­employees profit from the sales, it’s a win-win for everyone!”