The Rubber Board will continue efforts to stabilise natural rubber prices with the cooperation of allied sectors, said the board’s chairman Sawar Dhanania during his presidential address at the 183rd board meeting.

The Union Government has banned the import of scrap rubber as farmers are grappling with falling rubber prices. The board has requested the Centre to raise the import duty on compounded rubber. If rubber producer societies have modern warehouses with ample storage, then farmers can store their produce when prices fall and sell when the domestic market improves, he said.

The Furniture and Fittings Skill Council has the latest technologies in wood processing and designing. The Rubber Board can use this expertise to tap the potential of the rubber wood industry, he said.

Scope of producers’ organisation

The Rubber Board has been conducting grower meetings in various regions on ‘farmer producer organisations’ (FPO) and their scope in value addition. It can engage in MoUs with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Indian Institute of Technology, Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education, and so on, to explore opportunities for natural rubber in their related areas, Dhanania said.

KN Raghavan, Executive Director, presented a status report on natural rubber for the period April to November 2022. Domestic production from April to November is provisionally estimated at 517,000 tonnes, which is 14.9 per cent higher compared to 450,000 tonnes during the corresponding period last year. The board’s efforts in promoting rain-guarding, disease control, adoption of untapped areas and so on had contributed to the increase in production, he said.

Consumption during April to November is provisionally estimated at 898,000 tonnes compared to 827,000 tonnes during the same period the previous year, registering a growth of 8.6 per cent. The auto tyre sector registered 4.4 per cent growth in rubber consumption from April to November, while the general rubber goods sector registered 20.2 per cent growth. Auto tyre manufacturing sector accounted for 71 per cent of the natural rubber consumption in India from April to November.

The revised projection for production and consumption in 2022-23 is 830,000 tonnes and 1,310,000 tonnes, respectively. Import of natural rubber increased to 378,481 tonnes from April to November compared to 343,604 tonnes during the corresponding period last year. Raghavan said 89 per cent of the imports was in the form of block rubber.