The start of summer rains has revived the hopes of natural rubber farmers in getting a good yield in this season especially when there are hardly any signs of leaf diseases, which according to farmers, is expected to boost the harvest.

P.C.Cyirac, former chairman of Rubber Board, said the rubber belt in Kerala is waking up to a new tapping season after receiving delayed summer showers. This year, the re-foliation is vigorous, and the newly sprouted broad healthy leaves show no sign of any fungal disease, like oidium, which causes heavy leaf fall.

George Valy, president of Indian Rubber Dealers Federation, said the commencement of summer showers a fortnight ago in the central Travancore belt and similar rains that lashed in Kottayam region a couple of days ago have facilitated farmers to go for rain guarding of rubber trees before the onset of monsoon. The sultry weather in March has had its impact on production.

According to him, many growing regions are receiving sufficient rains and the farming community is getting ready to resume tapping. At present the prices are ruling steady at ₹180 compared to ₹150 in the corresponding period a year ago. The conducive climate with comparatively better prices coupled with the subsidy announced by the State government is expected to revive rubber production even in untapped areas as well, he said, adding that cup lumps and latex are also fetching good prices in the present situation.

Small growers begin tapping

Cyriac said the small rubber growers begin tapping, hoping that after a decade of low prices, the new season will get them remunerative prices. The trends in the international market are also favourable. With a good production on the anvil and availability of quality sheets, he hoped that the tyre industry might enter in the domestic rubber market for making good procurement.

In the FY24 , natural rubber production gone up to 8,57,000 tonnes from 8,39,000 tonnes in FY 2022-23, witnessing a marginal 2.14 per cent increase. The consumption rose to 14,16,000 tonnes from 13,50,000 tonnes.

Geojit commodity weekly insights said natural rubber in the domestic and overseas market traded firm. The concerns over output due to seasonally low production and unfavorable weather in the major producing countries and firmer crude oil prices lend support.

The Rubber Board also announced an incentive of ₹5 per kg for the export of rubber sheets effective from March 15 to June 30 to brand it under Indian Natural Rubber. The incentive aims to stabilize domestic prices and boost export opportunities and it is only for the export of RSS of 4 and above, the report said.