India’s natural rubber production rises 9.4 per cent to 7.12 lakh tonne in 2019-20

V Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on May 28, 2020 Published on May 28, 2020

File photo   -  The HIndu Chennai

India’s natural rubber production grew 9.4 per cent to reach 7,12,000 tonne in 2019-20.

It is for the first time since 2014-15 that production has crossed 7 lakh tonnes. Rubber Board Executive Director KN Raghavan attributed it to the continuous efforts to make rubber cultivation remunerative by increasing production and productivity and reducing production cost.

The Board, he said, has been implementing several activities at the regional and field levels with the cooperation of its Rubber Producers’ Societies to increase the production and productivity of plantations. The tapped area has gone up by 40,000 hectares last fiscal. The rain-guarded area was 2.50 lakh ha in 2019-20, higher by around 40,000 ha. The plantation adoption programme also brought 4,000 ha under tapping.

Earlier, addressing the 180th meeting of the Rubber Board through video conferencing, Sawar Dhanania, Chairman, called upon the stakeholders to move together and think of ways to cope with the pandemic-led situation. The Board and stakeholders should aim to meet 75 per cent of the natural rubber demand through domestic production, he said.

Decline in consumption

According to Raghavan, rubber consumption has declined from 12,11,940 tonne in 2018-19 to 11,34,120 tonne in 2019-20 and the production-consumption gap has declined to around 4,22,000 tonne from 5,61,000 tonne. Production for 2020-21 is projected at 7,10,000 tonne, taking into consideration the crop loss owing to Covid-19.

Imports dropped by 20 per cent in 2019-20; 70 per cent of the imports were through the duty paid channel, while exports increased from 4,551 tonne in 2018-19 to 12,194 tonne in 2019-20.

Raghavan said steps have been taken to mitigate the distress situation faced by small growers owing to the lockdown. A proposal was submitted to the Centre to protect growers from the vagaries of price fluctuation through the institution of minimum import price and restriction of imports.

The Board has proposed to establish an incubation centre to develop new and innovative processes and products in collaboration with present and prospective entrepreneurs in the rubber sector. This would commence functioning soon, he added.

Published on May 28, 2020
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