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 Overview of the Indian Rubber Industry 

Post independent era of India, witnessed a remarkable development in rubber plantation and rubber goods manufacturing industries. GoingExtracting Rubber by facts and figures, present industrial scenario shows India occupying the position of the fourth largest natural rubber producer in the world, after Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. There are two types of rubber that is consumed all over the world - natural and synthetic rubber. Today India is the fourth largest natural rubber consumer after USA, Japan and China.

Every day the demand for rubber is increasing, and that too at a very rapid pace. But the production rate in the country is not able to keep at par with demand. When we talk about rubber consumption, both natural and synthetic rubber is taken into consideration. In India consumption of natural and synthetic rubber is in the proportion of 80:20, compared to the global standard ratio 39:61. In combined use of both the rubber variety, the country occupies fifth position after developed countries, USA, Japan, China and the Republic of Korea.

Going by the geographical location and climatic conditions that prevails in India, it is always favorable for agro production. And for rubber production tropical climate is must. Major rubber plantation in India is done in the southern sector, specially Kerela Most of the major rubber producing countries, except China, are blessed with moderate and well distributed rainfall, which is in contrast to the Indian regions, where we experience not only excessive, but also highly seasonal rainfall. This produces a longer gestation period, loss of tapping days, fungal diseases and escalation in the costs of cultivation and production.

Rubber production in India is done in a very small scale. There are about 911,000 smallholdings having a total share of 86 per cent in area and production. The average size of an Indian smallholding is less than 0.50 ha, but this is redeemed by the enlightened outlook and diligence of the average Indian smallholder, who is willing to adopt new technology. The average yield per hectare is higher than that of most major producing countries, and illustrates their willingness to adopt frontier technologies. The imaginative and responsive policies and programs of the Government of India and the Rubber Board have also gone a long way to encourage growth and development in this sector.

Almost 75% of rubber is consumed by the auto industry and with development, rubber has become one of the essential ingredient in every product, be it the household product like gasket, or the soft buttons of a technical product like palm top, which takes in the rest. The year 2000 saw the total requirement of natural rubber and synthetic rubber, exceeding one million tonnes. Synthetic and reclaimed rubber industries India has a relatively small synthetic rubber capacity. Irrespective of the small scale production, India, is the largest producer and user of reclaimed rubber in the world. By 2010-11 the total consumption is likely to exceed two million tonnes.

Rubber Plantations in India, is the first commercial plantation of rubber, was started by European planters who formed the 'Periyar Syndicate' in 1902 at Thattekad near Alwaye, Kerela In 1904, further developments took place, particularly in Travancore, central Kerela In that year, planting of rubber was started in 'Yendayar', 'Eldorado' and 'Mundakayam' estates. The Governments of Travancore, Cochin, Madras and Mysore encouraged rubber cultivation by granting land, and the next six years saw considerable activity in Hevea planting. Between 1905 and 1907 KE Nicoll and EG Windle planted over 1 1100 acres (445 hectares) at Palapilly and Pudukad with rubber on the forest land obtained as grant from the Government.

The United Planters, Association of Southern India (UPASI) evinced keen interest in rubber cultivation and carried out research on various aspects, which helped in further development of commercial plantations. Presently, in India, rubber is planted in about 5.25 lakhs hectares of land producing 5.40 lakhs MT of Natural Rubber per annum approximately. The average yield per hectare is 1422 Kg.

 

 

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