Agri Business

Rubber Board to launch new campaign for growers to boost output

V Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on September 21, 2020 Published on September 21, 2020

KN Raghavan, ED, Rubber Board of India

Small growers to be encouraged to adopt low-frequency tapping, self-tapping; Rubber Tapper Banks to help use services of professional tappers more productively

Aimed at improving productivity and reduce production cost, the Rubber Board is all set to launch a new campaign among growers to promote low-frequency tapping (LFT) and self-tapping.

The adoption of LFT and self-tapping by small growers would help utilise the services of professional rubber tappers more productively by channelising their services through Rubber Tapper’s Banks. This would help bring more untapped plantations under tapping and increase the overall rubber production in the country, KN Raghavan, Executive Director, Rubber Board, said.

Also read: Rubber growers can contact call centre for tapping information: Board

“The campaign will be launched on Tuesday (September 22) across 100 field stations in Kerala and Kanyakumari with a target of covering 50,000 farmers in the current season. At each field station, a self-tapping grower will explain to the farmers the gains made by adopting LFT and self-tapping. It is expected that hearing from a peer, who has successfully implemented his innovation, will help farmers gain more confidence in the process,” he told BusinessLine.

Citing the results of its earlier programme of adopting untapped plantations, he said, the tapped area has risen to 40,000 hectares now from 4,000 ha in 2019-20. This year, a target of adopting an additional 10,000 hectares has been fixed. LFT and self-tapping would bring in more untapped plantations into the tapping net, thereby increasing the overall production and bringing down the demand-output gap.

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From the total earnings, 50 per cent go towards meeting tapping charges. At the prevailing rate of ₹2 per tree, the amount works out to ₹240-250 per tree in a year, and the total revenue from a tree would be ₹500, he said, adding, that the high expenditure can be brought down by reducing the frequency of tapping and the grower undertaking the tapping by himself.

LFT also helps improve the longevity of the rubber tree and helps the grower start tapping himself. A grower who adopts LFT needs to do tapping and related activities only once a week, allowing him to pursue other occupations on other days of the week. This would help bring down the production cost and make rubber farming more commercially viable, he added.

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Raghavan said that unremunerative prices and the inability to produce sufficient quantities of rubber to meet the demands of the consuming industry are the challenges faced by the sector. The lower price has forced farmers to leave their plantations untapped. The raw material shortage has, in turn, prompted the consuming industry to depend on imports.

Rubber cultivation is spread across 8.22 lakh ha, of which 6.65 lakh ha comprise rubber trees that are mature and yield latex. This has the capacity to produce 10 lakh tonnes annually. However, only around 4.88 lakh ha are under active tapping, with the remaining being untapped on account of low prices. Production last year stood at 7.12 lakh tonnes against consumption of 11.34 lakh tonnes.

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Published on September 21, 2020
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