Agri Business

Ageing plantations may sap rubber yield

Vinson Kurian Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on August 21, 2014 Published on August 21, 2014

An estimated 45 per cent of natural rubber plantations in India are in the low-yielding ‘aged’ category, according to the Automotive Tyre Manufacturers’ Association (ATMA).

Members of the Association are the largest consumers of natural rubber in India accounting for 70 per cent of the total consumption.

ATMA analysed the age profile of plantations since the year 2000 for deriving trends.

It concluded that the age profile has taken a turn for the worse over the last few years.

Long-term availability of natural rubber for meeting increasing demand is a subject of utmost concern now, says Rajiv Budhraja, Director-General, ATMA.

Growers are apparently not willing to replant in view of the long gestation period and high prices which even at lower yields have been considered to be remunerative.

So they continue to tap aged trees. Growers should be encouraged to re-plant with higher subsidies for re-plantation. Since natural rubber prices have come off from their peak levels currently, they will be more receptive towards re-plantation initiatives of the Rubber Board.

“In the next meeting of National Rubber Policy working group, we plan to raise this issue,” Budhraja said.

This comes at a time when other consuming countries are consolidating supplies by even developing plantations overseas.

While recent instances of drop production or cut in projected estimates were attributed to inclement weather, yields had already come under pressure in view of aging of trees.

Published on August 21, 2014
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