To address the lockdown distress of small growers, Board has submitted a proposal to the central government that includes measures like minimum import price and restriction of imports.
For the first time since 2014, India’s natural rubber (NR) production in 2019-20 has logged 7.12 lakh tonne, crossing the 7-lakh-tonne mark. At the same time, Rubber Board of India forecasts its production for the current fiscal at 7,10,000 tonne, factoring in the crop loss owing to Covid-19.
According to Rubber Board’s latest statistics, NR consumption has dropped from 12,11,940 tonne in 2018-19 to 11,34,120 tonne in 2019-20. So has the production-consumption gap of NR. It has shrunk to around 4,22,000 tonne from 5,61,000 tonne, the Board said.
“It was because of the efforts of the Board to make rubber cultivation remunerative that the production-consumption gap was brought down,” said Rubber Board executive director KN Raghavan. “With the support of our Rubber Producers’ Societies, we had been implementing initiatives to incease the production and productivity of the plantations.” The tapped area has increased by 40,000 hectare last fiscal. The rain-guarded area was 2.50 lakh hectare in 2019-20, higher by about 40,000 hectare.
The plantation adoption programme also added 4,000 hectares under tapping area. During the 180th meeting of the Rubber Board through video-conferencing, chairman Sawar Dhanania called upon the stakeholders to put their heads together to find ways to cope with the pandemic-led situation.
“The Board and stakeholders should aim to meet 75% of the NR demand, through domestic production,” Dhanania said. Imports fell 20% in 2019-20; 70% 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.
To address the lockdown distress of small growers, Board has submitted a proposal to the central government that includes measures like minimum import price and restriction of imports. Raghavan said an incubation centre to develop innovative processes and products in collaboration with rubber sector entrepreneurs has been mooted. This would go alive soon, he added.