Kottayam: Natural rubber (NR) production in India increased by 23 percent during the last fiscal (2016-17). This was announced by A Ajith Kumar, Chairman & Executive Director of Rubber Board while delivering the presidential address at the 174th meeting of the Rubber Board held at Kottayam.
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 percent 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 are 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. Generally, bearish sentiments weigh on NR market in the near future but there are positive indications suggesting an 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 were given at Regional Office, Field Office levels to improve production and productivity. Conducted a mass contact programme in traditional rubber belt to popularise low-frequency tapping (LFT), especially once in a week tapping, as a cost reduction measure to improve the profitability of rubber and extend economic life without a reduction in yield.
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