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Rubber Board develops high yielding strains

Vipin V. Nair

Kochi , May 13

RUBBER growers in the country can look forward to new high-yielding plants as the Rubber Board is set to release four new clones that promise higher yield than the popular RRII 105 variety.

Farmers could soon plant the new RRII 414, RRII 417, RRII 422 and RRI 430 in 50 per cent of the total area of cultivation, the Rubber Board Chairman, Mr S.M. Desalphine, told Business Line.

"The Rubber Board has shifted these plants to the Category 2 from Category 3. We will release these clones for growers in the near future itself," he said.

Category 2 consists of clones that can be planted in 50 per cent of the area, while the Category 3 is of plants meant for experimental purposes. Category 1 is of plants for wide scale planting. It currently has only two clones - the RRII 105 and PB 260.

The new clones have shown a yield increase of 20 to 42 per cent compared with RRII 105, officials of Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII) has claimed.

The RRII 414 clone has shown a yield improvement of 38 per cent over RRII 105, while the RRII 417 exhibited an increase of 32 per cent over the first 10 years of tapping in the small-scale trial.

Yield improvement of RRII 422 is 22 per cent and RRII 430 is 20 per cent over RRII 105.

The RRII developed the new clones through painstaking research of 22 years.

The Institute is hopeful that the clones would mark a significant achievement in the development of rubber in the country.

Though RRII had developed many a clone in the past, none could emerge popular among planters since their yield was not higher than that of the RRII 105, the most preferred clone since 1980.

The new clones were evolved in 1982 by the hybridisation of the RRII 105 with RRIC 100, "a vigorous and disease tolerant clone of Sri Lankan origin". Five clones were selected after 16 years of trial.

Large-scale trials of these clones are on at five locations in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Tripura and West Bengal.

Besides, farm evaluations trials at a number of large estates have also been conducted.

Also, 215 farmers were given bud woods of these clones for collaborative experiments.

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