Natural rubber may touch 7,50,000 tonnes

Rubber Board releases production, consumption projections

On the back of a prospective increase in the tappable area and measures to promote rubber production, the Rubber Board is counting on the production of natural rubber to touch 7,50,000 tonne-mark in the current fiscal.

The latest estimates, released by K.N. Raghavan, chairman and executive director of the Rubber Board, on the occasion of the 178th meeting of the agency held in Kottayam recently, also project a corresponding improvement in consumption.

According to him, the rise in production levels is expected on the back of an increase in the overall tappable area by 15,000 hactares, coupled with the measures to increase rubber production and continuation of the Rubber Production Incentive Scheme (RPIS) in Kerala. Meanwhile, the consumption of natural rubber during the fiscal is projected at 12,70,000 tonnes, supported by economic growth and higher import duty and anti-dumping duty on tyres.

Consumption goes up

As per the provisional figures, the consumption of natural rubber in India in the last fiscal went up by 9% to 12,11,940 tonnes from 11,12,210 tonnes.

At the same time, natural rubber production was only 6,48,000 tonnes, which is 6.6% lower than 6,94,000 tonnes produced in the previous fiscal.

While the initial projection for 2018-19 was 7,30,000 tonnes, the actual volume was below the expected levels, owing to excessive rain and floods and the consequent high level of incidence of abnormal leaf fall disease.

Rise in import

Import of natural rubber increased by 24% in 2018-19 as compared to the previous year and 70% of the import was through duty-paid channel. As in the previous years, 81% of import was in the form of block rubber.

The rise in import is attributed primarily to the differences in prices between domestic sheet rubber and international block rubber and shortage of rubber in the domestic market.

“Import of natural rubber during the current fiscal was 5,82,381 tonnes and it is projected at 5,00,000 tonnes in 2019-20. The export during 2018 -19 was 4551 tonnes. The stock at the end of March 2019 was estimated at 2,87,000 tonnes. However, the volume of tradeable stock of natural rubber was only 1,27,000 tonnes,” Mr. Raghavan said.

Among other things, the chairman also informed the board that a new high-yielding and cold- and disease- tolerant hybrid clone viz., RRII 429 of rubber, suitable for commercial cultivation in the north-eastern States, was now ready for release after completing all mandatory field evaluations.

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