The Rubber Board has projected that the natural rubber production for FY-25 is expected to touch 8,75,000 tonnes on account of rain guarding in more areas in Kerala and North-East, thanks to improved weather conditions and measures taken for controlling diseases.

The total area under rubber plantation is estimated to increase by 889,000 hectares a during 2023-24 from 850,000 hectares in 2022-23. An increase in tappable area of 8,500 hectares in 2023-24 against 2022-23 signals more rubber availability in the current year, the Board said in a statement.

Of the overall consumption of 14,16,000 tonnes during 2023-24, sheet rubber consumption made up 41.6 per cent at 5,89,345 tonnes and latex consumption was 1,08,405 tonnes, accounting for 7.7 per cent of the total consumption. This implies that the industry has more requirements for RSS than other grades of rubber. Domestically produced RSS rubber grades are in good demand for tyres and other product manufacturers, indicating their quality and market acceptability, M Vasanthagesan, Executive Director, Rubber Board said.

‘Focus on sheet processing’

He urged rubber growers to concentrate more on sheet processing than selling field latex. Over the years, the consumption of natural rubber in the form of Ribbed Smoked Sheets (RSS grades) has been on the rise, with an increase of 8.34 per cent and 5.37 per cent between 2022-23 and 2023-24, respectively.

Growers are currently securing 90-95 per cent of the terminal market share due to sheet making. By processing sheet rubber, growers can potentially earn higher profits in the current market scenario, he said.

Domestic natural rubber consumption during 2023-24 was 14,16,000 tonnes against 13,50,000 tonnes during 2022-23, up by 4.9 per cent from the previous year.

From April to May 2024, total NR production amounted to 81,000 tonnes, whereas the total production during the same period in 2023 was 82,000 tonnes. The production loss was due to early rains in May. However, the Board expects the supply conditions to improve in the coming days.

The import of natural rubber over the years stood at 546,369 tonnes, 528,677 tonnes and 4,92,682 tonnes during 2021-22, 2022-23 and 2023-24 respectively. By focusing on increasing domestic production, growers can play a crucial role in achieving self-reliance in rubber production, the Board said.