National scientific institutions should make interventions to popularise the cultivation of rubber at a time when global demand for the commodity is rising, according to N Kalaiselvi, Director-General, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Secretary, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR).

“We have to try to project rubber across the country as a climate-resilient and all-region crop, and expand it to wherever possible. The CSIR-National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology (NIIST), Thiruvananthapuram, should take this up as a challenge,” Kalaiselvi said while inaugurating the ‘One Week One Lab (OWOL)’ programme here.

Kerala’s track record

Kalaiselvi remarked since Kerala is known for its track record in rubber cultivation, NIIST can work with farmers and turn it as an end-to-end support system to create better employment opportunities.

“We depend on a lot of countries for sourcing rubber-based products, whether it is tyre or value-added rubber products. When the country is talking about Atmanirbhar Bharat, self-reliance, and Make in India initiatives, CSIR-NIIST has to take up the new initiative by trying to promote more farmers into rubber cultivation and help them earn a cherishable income,” Kalaiselvi said.

Focus on coir and spices sectors

NIIST can also promote interventions in the coir and spices sectors of Kerala. The CSIR Director-General urged each researcher to adopt one industry problem, address it and come up with a solution in a maximum of three years.

She described CSIR-NIIST technology for generating eco-friendly manure from biomedical waste, and leather products from agricultural waste as “magic” when speaking with newspersons.

Among those in attendance were at C Anandharamakrishnan, Director, CSIR-NIIST, Thiruvananthapuram, and Javed Iqbal, Chairman, CSIR-NIIST Research Council.