In recent years, natural rubber production in India is facing sharp decline. Critically discuss the problems and government efforts made in this direction so far.
According to Rubber board production of natural rubber slumped by 14 %in the first quarter of current fiscal.In June it fell by 21%,when compared to a year before.Following factors can be said to be the reasons:
1)Ageing trees leading to reduction in productivity per hectare.
2)Many farmers are disinclined to take up tapping due to low returns,high labour costs.Rubber prices have plunged from Rs 250/kg to less than half today.
3)The unrestricted imports of natural rubber has pushed down the domestic demand.
4)Another issue of concern is the slowing down of Chinese economy.Sharp reduction of demand in China has dampened the global rubber prices.Imported block of rubber now costs just Rs 90/kg.
5)Other factors like High input costs in rubber production,bizzard duty structure,signing of FTA’s related to rubber have also affected domestic production.
Government has taken measures to increase the production of Natural rubber:
1)In non traditional rubber growing areas financial assistance is provided for procuring equipments to Rubber producing societies and NGO’s.Further plantation development and extention programmes aimed at enhancing productivity and quality are being carried out.There is also a programme called rubber development in North east.
2)In traditional rubber growing areas like Kerala and TN ,there is a rubber plantation development scheme,which provides financial and technical assistance.
3)In the context of increasing rubber imports the customs duty on imports has been increased to protect domestic production.
4)An expert committe has been constituted to draft national policy on rubber.
Natural rubber is one of the key productive assets of our country ,help as of now is not sufficient ,farmers should be helped to take periodic stock,planting and replanting initiatives.