Import of NR shot up 24% in 2018-2019. About 70% of this was through the duty-paid channel and 81% was in block rubber form.
The Rubber Board is hopeful that the domestic production of natural rubber (NR) will improve in the current fiscal. The consumption of the commodity went up 9% during the last fiscal while the production had been below expected levels.
The consumption of NR has increased from 11,12,210 tonne in 2017-18 to 12,11,940 tonne in 2018-19, according to the board. However, NR production in the last fiscal had been below expected levels, admits KN Raghavan, chairman and executive director, Rubber Board of India.
“This was due to excessive rain and floods, and consequent high-level of incidence of abnormal leaf fall disease.” Raghavan was delivering the presidential address in the 178th meeting of the rubber board in Kottayam on Friday.
A new high-yielding, cold and disease tolerant hybrid clone — RRII 429 — had been ready for commercial cultivation in Northeast states after completing the mandatory field tests, chairman said. According to provisional estimates, NR production in 2018-2019 was 648,000 tonne, which is 6.6% lower than that in the previous fiscal.
“NR production for the current fiscal is projected at 750,000 tonne, taking into consideration the increase in tappable area from 640,000 hectare in 2018-19 to 665,000 ha in 2019-20, measures that the rubber board is taking to buoy rubber production and the continuation of RPIS (Rubber Production Incentive Scheme) in Kerala in 2019-2020,” Raghavan said.
Import of NR shot up 24% in 2018-2019. About 70% of this was through the duty-paid channel and 81% was in block rubber form. Shortage in domestic market and price difference of sheets were the two reasons for higher level of import of the commodity.
During the current fiscal 582,381 tonne of NR had been imported. The rubber board’s rosy projection is that the imports will be constricted to 500,000 tonne in the next fiscal.