Agri Business

Rubber Board charts a new strategy to raise output

V Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on July 03, 2019 Published on July 03, 2019

Aims to ensure that no rubber plant goes untapped

 

Untapped rubber plantations will now get a new lease of life as the Rubber Board has something unique to offer. To improve production, the Board is in the process of implementing a new concept of adopting rubber-holdings through producer societies and companies promoted by it. The objective is to ensure that no rubber-holding goes without tapping, said KN Raghavan, Chairman, Rubber Board.

He pointed out that rubber production came down by 1,26,000 tonnes in 2013-14 and 2018-19, while tappable areas increased by 1,21,900 hectares. This was due to fewer tappings and decline in productivity in the wake of a fall in prices from the all-time high of ₹243/kg in April 2011 to ₹118/kg in November 2018.

 

 

 

The adoption of farms will involve maintenance, weeding, planting protection measures besides provisions for rain-guarding, tapping of trees and processing of the produce. Tapper Banks, which have been formed by the Board through rubber producer societies(RPS), will be used for tapping in the adopted holdings. Since several holdings in an area would be adopted, the services of tappers can be optimally utilised while also providing them with full-time employment.

Marketing the sheets

The rubber sheets so produced would be marketed through companies promoted by the Board. These activities require the consent from growers who would be paid the proceeds generated from sale of rubber after deducting operational expenses. Measures in this regard have already commenced, with field officers of the Rubber Board beginning the work of identifying plantations lying untapped in their respective jurisdictions, Raghavan said.

During 2018-19, around 30 per cent of the area where rubber trees were planted and have attained maturity were not tapped. An analysis showed that 80 per cent of the area where tapping was not done was in Kerala. The reason for this was that farmers found production unviable . A sizeable percentage of such rubber plantations are owned by growers having other full-time engagements or residing at distant places. These factors also contributed to the lack of interest in tapping. It was also noted that only a small percentage of growers are doing rain-guarding, as a result of which tapping does not take place during rainy months. This leads to a loss of 30-35 tapping days in a year, bringing down the productivity by 25-30 per cent .

The Board expects that the area under tapping can be increased to provide an output of 7,50,000 tonnes by 2019-20, which could be further augmented during the following years so as to meet the demands of consuming industry, while also creating scope for exports of natural rubber during favourable price situations.

Published on July 03, 2019
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