The Rubber Board informed that the increasing trend in rubber production in the country continues and the production of natural rubber (NR) during the month of April 2017 shows an increase of 23.1 per cent as compared to the production during the same period the year before. Production during April 2017 is 48,000 tonnes whereas it was 39,000 tonnes in April 2016. If this trend continues, production of NR during the fiscal will reach the anticipated 8 lakh tonne.
Rubber Board is continuing its activities to make rubber cultivation remunerative by increasing production and productivity and reducing cost of cultivation and production. The Board has been implementing several activities at regional and field levels, with the active cooperation of Rubber Producerís Societies (RPSs), to increase production and productivity of plantations.
Rubber Board has started this yearís distribution of inputs, at subsidy rates, through the RPSs. This year, rainguarding materials and spraying material are being supplied to the RPSs, through Board owned companies.
The annual mass contact programme of the Rubber Board for this year, aimed for the total excellence of the plantations will end on May 26 . Until last week 546 meetings were conducted at various places covering about 35000 farmers. Practices such as weekly tapping, controlled upward tapping, rain guarding, online fertilizer recommendation, scheme for intercropping to be implemented in collaboration with Kerala state agricultural department and rubber tapper skill development programme under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) are being discussed in the meetings. Local impediments, if any, in adopting these practices will also be addressed.
The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship has already approved the second phase for training another 22,000 persons in rubber tapping and processing in Kerala, Tripura, Assam, Tamilnadu and Karnataka, under PMKVY. The Board also has started a study in Kerala on the impact of the RPL training programmes already conducted in Kerala during first phase. The study is aimed to understand the improvement in quality of tapping and its direct impact in increase of productivity.