Agri Business

Rubber bodies look to grow in non-traditional areas to meet demand

Our Bureau Kochi | Updated on May 10, 2011 Published on May 10, 2011


To bridge the gap between natural rubber production and consumption, the rubber consuming interests have called upon the Government to explore avenues for land acquisition outside the country for new plantation initiatives.

As the availability of land is limited in traditional rubber growing areas, the All India Rubber Industries Association (AIRIA) and the Automotive Tyre Manufacturers Association (ATMA) stressed the need to evolve a new model, including PPP, to intensify rubber cultivation in non-traditional areas in the North-East.

Making a presentation to the Rubber Board for 12{+t}{+h} Five Year Plan proposals on the sector, they stated that taking cue from China urgent policy interventions are imperative to ensure timely and competitively priced availability of natural rubber to user industries. India should take up integrated project on the lines of Rubber Valley project in China so as to replicate the concept of ‘farm to fork' for rubber by covering the complete value chain from plantation stock to finished products.

Growing deficit

Later speaking at a press conference, Mr Vinod Simon, President, AIRIA, pointed out that there is growing deficit between domestic production and consumption of rubber in the country. Rubber import is therefore, inevitable or else import of finished products will take place denying the opportunity of value addition within the country. He said that domestic natural rubber deficit and expensive imports have been inhibiting the full blossoming of rubber industry.

Stressing the need for a twin-pronged strategy to bridge the growing deficit between domestic natural rubber production and consumption, Mr Rajiv Budhraja, Director-General, ATMA, said that the domestic production needs to be enhanced by taking up replanting as a top priority and undertaking major planting initiatives in non-traditional areas.

Reiterating the demand for duty-free import of 200,000 tonnes of natural rubber during the current financial year, Mr Budhraja said that the production has increased by only one per cent in the last four financial years, while the consumption has increased by more than 15 per cent.

In the current fiscal, the domestic production is likely to lag behind domestic consumption by 189,000 tonnes. This is in view of the fact that new capacities and major expansion undertaken by tyre companies to cater to booming automobile industry will lead to an increased consumption by 150,000 tonnes, he said.

Board's projection

The Rubber Board had projected increase in natural rubber consumption by 40,000 tonnes (from 8.62 lakh tonnes to 9.02 lakh tonnes) for 2011-12. Accordingly the gap between domestic production and consumption has been put at 75,000 tonnes by the Board which is at wide variance with industry estimates based on actual capacity expansion, he said.

Mr Simon also emphasised the need for setting up a development commissioner on the lines of development commissioners in jute and textile sectors to oversee the overall development of rubber sector, particularly SSI units, which have borne the brunt of unprecedented increase in rubber prices and are turning unviable.

Published on May 10, 2011
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