India’s natural rubber (NR) consumption increased to a record high of 13.5 lakh tonnes, despite imports declining by 3.2 per cent in the 2022-23 financial year. Consumption was supported by NR production rising to a 10-year high.

According to data published by the Directorate-General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics (DGCI&S), Kolkata, total imports dropped to 5,28,677 tonnes in 2022-23, against 5,46,369 tonnes (provisional) in the previous fiscal.

Speaking at the 184th meeting of the Rubber Board, M. Vasanthagesan, Executive Director, said production was provisionally estimated at 8,39,000 tonnes in 2022-23, compared with 7,75,000 tonnes in 2021-22.

Production in 2022-23 was second only to production of 9,13,7000 tonnes in 2012-13. An increase in yield, tappable area and area tapped during the year contributed to the rise in NR production, he said.

Consumption, on the other hand, has been provisionally estimated at 13,50,000 tonnes, up 9 per cent compared with 12,38,000 tonnes in 2021-22. Exports were at 3,700 tonnes in 2022-23, compared with 3,560 tonnes in 2021-22. 

Exploring export opportunities

Rubber Board Chairman, Sawar Dhanania, said efforts to explore opportunities in the MSME sector should be continued to improve the export of natural rubber products from the country.

“We need to identify current demand for the products and promote their manufacture. Besides, the quality of raw materials such as sheet rubber and rubber latex, essential for manufacture, should also be maintained at par with international grading standards,” he said at the 184th meeting of the Rubber Board..

Rubber producers’ societies and Rubber Board companies should focus more on improving the quality of rubber latex and sheets.

As part of ‘NE-MITHRA’, a rubber augmentation project of the Automotive Tyre Manufactures’ Association, the Rubber Board developed plantations on 3,859 hectares and 23,370 hectares, respectively, in 2021-22 and 2022-23 in the North-Eastern states and West Bengal.