Agri Business

Gujarat eyes rubber cultivation to shore up farmers’ income

Our Bureau Ahmedabad | Updated on March 08, 2018 Published on March 08, 2018

But experts sceptical on prospects citing diverse agro-climatic conditions of the State

The Gujarat government is learnt to be exploring options to encourage rubber cultivation in the State with the industry support for research and development of the crop that is currently concentrated in South and North-East India.

The State, which has about 58 per cent of its land area under arid and semi-arid regions, is gearing itself up for natural rubber cultivation as Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, at a launch of a tyre manufacturing facility in Sanand on Thursday, expressed his readiness to support such initiatives to increase farm incomes.

Raising farm incomes

“Gujarat is a land of opportunities. As we see large number of rubber consuming industry coming to the State, we would look to extend State support to encourage R&D in rubber cultivation in Gujarat. I urge the (consuming) companies to associate with the State Forest Department to take up research in natural rubber cultivation and come up with an integrated project for rubber production in the State,” said Rupani here.

Urging tyre maker Maxxis Rubber India, an arm of Taiwanese Maxxis Group, Rupani stated that the government is eager to extend all support to encourage rubber cultivation in the State.

However, rubber cultivation in India has been traditionally confined to Kerala and Tamil Nadu. In recent years, rubber cultivation was also tried in the hinterlands of coastal Karnataka, Goa, Konkan, coastal Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and the North-Eastern States.

Unsuitable climate

According to horticulture experts, Gujarat has thin prospects of rubber cultivation primarily due to its adverse agro-climatic conditions.

“This crop has never been a native to Gujarat and is very difficult to cultivate in the State. Currently, there are no field experiments for natural rubber cultivation on record,” said a dean of Horticulture Department at one of the agriculture varsities in the State.

Natural Rubber cultivation requires humid tropical climate with average annual rainfall in the range of about 2,000-4,500 mm. Gujarat has the average rainfall of about 810 mm, which, according to horticulture experts, will be insufficient for the natural rubber cultivation.

Published on March 08, 2018
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