Output of natural rubber
(NR) in the country last month, the first of the current financial year, showed a rise of 23.1 per cent from the same period a year before, at 48,000 tonnes from the earlier 39,000 tonnes..
“If this trend continues, production of NR during the fiscal (year) will reach the anticipated 800,000 tonnes,” said A Ajith Kumar, chairman, Rubber
Board, and a million tonnes (mt) next year.
Current annual demand in the domestic market is around 1.1 mt.
The Board said it had focused on improving the input supply chain, to ensure it reached farmers in time. Another focus was on bringing more untapped areas into production (last year, the production area rose by eight per cent). To improve quality and production, around 10,000 tappers were trained last year and this has helped to improve the productivity by 25 per cent.
Kumar said all these measures had pushed the overall production to 690,000 tonnes in 2016-17, as against its target of 654,000 tonnes.
The Board has given a three-year plan to the government, to make rubber
cultivation more remunerative, among other things. It has been implementing various plans at regional and field levels, with the cooperation of Rubber
Producers Societies, to raise the productivity of plantations.
As an experiment, it is introducing a crop insurance scheme in two districts of Kerala.