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Friday, Mar 26, 2004

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Rubber output may top 7 lakh t

Vipin V. Nair

Kochi , March 25

THE country's rubber production will grow by a record 10 per cent in the current fiscal to cross seven lakh tonnes, according to a top official of Rubber Board.

"We expect a growth of 10 per cent this year. This is a record growth rate for rubber production in the country," said Mr S.M. Desalphine, Chairman of Rubber Board.

Mr Desalphine said the Rubber Board had expected an annual growth of 5.5 per cent in 2003-04 over the previous year, but robust yield during the year surpassed projections.

Buoyed by the high price of rubber in the market, farmers took better care of the trees, providing sufficient fertilisations and rain guarding.

This year also saw more plantation area getting tapped as farmers wanted to take advantage of the high prices ruling in the market.

These factors have led to production exceeding targets, the official said. Rubber production in 2002-03 was around 6.5 lakh tonnes.

Mr Desalphine said there would not be any impact of the drought-like situation prevailing in the State on production of rubber during the next financial year.

"I expect more production during 2003-04. Our estimate is that there would be a growth of at least five per cent in the year," he told Business Line.

The Chairman is of the view that rubber prices in the domestic market will rule at the current levels for the next couple of years and there is unlikely to be any great volatility in prices.

The RSS 4 grade rubber was traded at the Kottayam market at Rs 55.50 per kg on Wednesday.

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