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Natural rubber production increases by twenty three per cent - A. Ajith Kumar
Kottayam, 7 July 2017
Natural rubber (NR) production in India increased by 23 per cent during the last fiscal (2016-17), said Sri. A. Ajith Kumar, Chairman and Executive Director, Rubber Board. He was delivering the presidential address in the 174th meeting of the Rubber Board held at Kottayam today. Production of NR increased from 562,000 tonnes in 2015-16 to 691,000 tonnes in 2016-17. NR consumption during the same period increased from 994,415 tonnes to 1,043,075 tonnes, with a 4.9 per cent increase. Over the same period productivity in India increased from 1437 kg per hectare to 1563 kg per hectare. Import of NR that had been consistently increasing from 2008 -09 reached 458,374 tonnes in 2015-16. But in 2016-17, import of NR declined for the first time by 7% to 426,434 tonnes. The export during 2016 -17 was 20,920 tonnes. The stock at the end of March 2017 was 2,64,000 tonnes, he informed the Board.
Production during April - May 2017 is estimated provisionally as 85000 tonnes and consumption as 170525 tonnes. Production and consumption of NR for the current fiscal is projected at 800,000 tonnes and 10,70,000 tonnes respectively with a deficit of 270,000 tonnes.
The world production and consumption of NR in 2016 according to the report from International Rubber Study Group (IRSG) is 12.40 and 12.60 million tonnes respectively. They forecast world production and consumption of NR for 2017 at 12.93 and 12.88 million tonnes respectively. World NR production and consumption during the first quarter of 2017 increased by 7.2% and 4.9 % respectively. Generally, bearish sentiments weigh on NR market in the near future but there are positive indications suggesting increase in consumption mainly on the basis of hopeful growth projections, added Chairman.
Rubber Board had taken several measures to increase rubber production during the recent past. Steps were taken to harvest untapped areas with the help of Rubber Producers Societies (RPSs) and the Board promoted companies. Specific targets given at Regional Office, Field Office levels to improve production and productivity. Conducted a mass contact programme in traditional rubber belt to popularize low frequency tapping (LFT), especially once in a week tapping, as a cost reduction measure to improve profitability of rubber and extend economic life without reduction in yield. Conducted campaign programmes in non-traditional areas also for improving productivity. Supplied inputs, especially rainguarding materials, through Board promoted companies.
The first phase of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) project under PMKVY, which helped in upskilling of 10000 tappers and formation of Tapper Banks attached to Rubber Producer Societies (RPS) has made desired changes in the field of tapping. The second phase of RPL project is being implemented in Kerala, Tripura, Assam, Tamilnadu and Karnataka to train another 22,000 persons in rubber tapping and processing. Board also provided logistic support to implement Rubber Production Incentive Scheme (RPIS) of Govt. of Kerala ensuring a price of Rs 150 per kg to smallholders.
The Section 12 of The Rubber Act 1947 for the imposition of cess on rubber has been repealed as per the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Act 2017 and the levy of cess on natural rubber (NR) produced in India has been dispensed with, with effect from 01 July 2017, Chairman informed in the meeting.