The domestic consumption of natural rubber in the country has reached a record high in 2022-23 at 1,350,000 tonnes, up 9 per cent from the quantity of 1,238,000 tonnes consumed during 2021-22, according to M. Vasanthagesan, Executive Director of the Rubber Board.

The auto tyre sector has registered a positive growth of 4.8 per cent during 2022-23. The general rubber goods sector recorded 20 per cent growth during 2022-23 compared to 5.6 per cent during 2021-22. Auto-tyre manufacturing sector accounted for 70 per cent of NR consumed in the country during 2022-23. NR production and consumption for 2023-24 are projected at 875,000 tonnes and 1,400,000 tonnes respectively.

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Yield up

Presenting figures at 185th meeting of Rubber Board, he said NR production during 2022-23 was 839,000 tonnes, registering 8.3 per cent growth. The average yield, measured in terms of production per hectare of tapped area, increased to 1,482 kg/ha in 2022-23 from 1,472 kg/ha in the previous year.

Sawar Dhanania, Chairman, Rubber Board said apart from all the challenges, the domestic natural rubber sector has shown positive growth in production and consumption compared to the previous year, which is a good sign of a resurgence of the Indian plantation sector.

The efforts of the Board and the timely interference in disease control, adoption of rubber holdings for harvesting, formation of Rubber Tapper Groups (RTGs) have resulted in the augmentation of NR production in the country. But, many challenges, including volatilities in rubber prices, climate change, market issues, labour shortage, etc., continue in the rubber sector.

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‘Experiment with FPOs’

“We need to find suitable solutions at the grassroots level to make the plantation sector more sustainable and profitable. In the present scenario, Rubber Producers’ Societies (RPSs) need further improvement in their governance and activities to face the various challenges in the rubber plantation sector. RPSs should become self-sufficient in their activities. The concept of Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) in the RPS sector is a viable suggestion to experiment with in the coming days, Dhanania said.

The Board thanked the Union Government to increase the import duty on compounded rubber at par with NR. The Committee also suggested that the Rubber Board should ensure the benefit of Rubber Production Incentive Scheme of the State Government reaches to all small growers.