In a major boost to the natural rubber plantation drive in the North-East, nearly 70,000 hectares (ha) havebeen brought under farming under the INROAD project in three years. This represents one of the highest area under new plantations in the North-East in a block of three years.

INROAD (Indian Natural Rubber Operations for Assisted Development), a project for supporting development of 2 lakh hectares of rubber plantations in North-East, is being undertaken under active mentoring of the Commerce Ministry. Automotive Tyre Manufacturers Association (ATMA), a body of tyre manufacturers in the country, has collaborated with the Rubber Board for the project.

In the process, over 3 crore trees have been planted so far under the project benefitting nearly 80,000 beneficiaries across 93 districts in North-Eastern States. Against the target of 80,000 ha of plantation in the first three years of the INROAD project, nearly 70,000 ha or 86 per cent of the project target has been achieved despite post-Covid and logistics challenges, said Anshuman Singhania, Chairman ATMA.

Transforming the sector

“The project entails socio-economic development of resource-poor populations in these States. Plantation in 2 lakh hectares will not only benefit nearly 2.5 lakh farmers and their families, the comprehensive capacity building and skill training will transform the plantation sector for all time to come”, added Singhania.

For the project, the industry has committed ₹1,000 crore towards a new plantation of 2 lakh hectares and another ₹100 crore towards improvement in quality of NR through best practices, skilling and training.

India’s improved global ranking in the automotive sector augurs well for the stakeholder value chain, including the domestic tyre industry and NR sector. However, the NR demand–supply gap in India continues to be high. At present, nearly 40 per cent of the NR requirement is met through imports. It is estimated that by 2030, the country would require about 20 lakh tonnes of NR per year. The INROAD project will help meet some of the growing requirements within the country.