Kottayam, May 30 : The production of natural rubber in the country rose to 7.12 lakh tonnes, registering a growth rate of 9.4 per cent during 2019-2020. The production crossed seven lakh tonnes for the first time since 2014-15. The rise in production was attributed to several activities initiated by the Rubber Board at Regional and field levels, with active cooperation of rubber producers' societies, Rubber Board Executive Director K N Raghavan said in a statement here.
The overall tapped area increased by 40,000 hectares during the period while the rain-guarded area was 2.50 lakh hectares, up by about 40000 hectares. This was in addition to 4,000 hectares brought in through the plantation adoption programme of the board. The volume of consumption was down from 12,11,940 tonnes in 2018-19 to 11,34,120 tonnes in 2019-20. At the same time, the production consumption gap also declined to around 4,22,000 tonnes from 5,61,000 tonnes the previous year. The import volume marked a decline of 20 per cent while exports increased from 4,551 tonnes in 2018-19 to 12,194 tonnes in 2019-20.
The statement projects the production of Natural rubber for the current fiscal at 7.10 lakh tonnes, taking into consideration the crop loss due to COVID-19. Meanwhile, world production level is expected to decline by 2.2 per cent to become 13.43 million tonnes while consumption too will be down by 4.6 per cent to become 13.13 million tonnes, according to a study by International Rubber Study Group. In view of the present situation faced by small growers due to COVID-19, the board has submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, seeking minimum import price and restrictions on imports with minimum price mechanism in the domestic market. (UNI)