The domestic natural rubber industry has been likely by a hard phase. A prolonged slump in rubber prices has strike the plantation sector, especially smaller and marginal growers. Other segments are also beset with worries this kind of as worldwide opposition, dumping, non-tariff obstacles and technological bottlenecks.
KN Raghavan, Executive Director, Rubber Board, spoke to BusinessLine on the sidelines of the India Rubber Meet 2020 at Mamallapuram, in the vicinity of Chennai, about the steps to mitigate the effect of the slump, and the road in advance for the industry. Excerpts:
What are the immediate-expression steps prepared to revive the sector?
Even though there is no guess on the cost entrance, the easy way out now is to increase productivity. Reduced productivity is on account of two reasons. Men and women do not tap (rubber) at all, and they do not tap through the wet period thanks to absence of rain guarding. Also, there are a great deal of senile plantations where the output arrives down. For starters, anywhere there is no tapping, we are hoping to adopt those people estates — anything like agreement tapping. This began in a smaller way past year and we want to acquire it ahead. On rain guarding, we are tying up with some firms to get their CSR cash so that we can supply rain guarding materials for cost-free to smaller farmers. For medium farmers, we will supply the materials cost-free, but when they develop and sell, we will attempt to recoup the cash at that issue. For senile plantations, we are now encouraging replanting.
What about the development in acquiring non-standard locations for rubber cultivation?
Of course, there is a dire want to carry in new areas of plantations. Due to the fact the consuming industry is escalating very rapid, catching up with that is a big challenge. Considering that standard belts this kind of as Kerala and Tamil Nadu have saturated, we have to go to the North-East and other areas, this kind of as Karnataka, West Bengal and Odisha. For the new locations, the authorities has made a decision to prolong tender financial loans by NABARD with interest subvention instead of subsidy, which will be only 10-fifteen for each cent of the full price tag. So, in the very first 7 many years, growers do not have to pay back anything thanks to the subvention. From the eighth or ninth year, interest will have to be compensated and, from the 10th year onwards, only principal will be compensated. About fifteen many years, growers in new locations will be able to handle the price tag. We are in talks with NABARD. Probably in two or 3 months, a scheme will be released, focussing generally on the new locations.
How feasible are local climate-resistant clones?
We have been functioning on it. In fact, we have previously released two cold-resistant clones — one particular in 2016 and the other, past thirty day period. The enhancement of clones is a time-consuming course of action and usually takes 25 many years. The entire existence of the rubber plant has to be monitored. However, we have appear out with two (clones). Now we are hoping to get anything with drought-resistant characteristics as the maturity period in States like Odisha is way too extensive — 10 many years.
The Nationwide Rubber Coverage 2019 states at minimum seventy five for each cent of intake should really be satisfied by the domestic industry. When do you consider it will come about?
In fact some many years back, the rubber industry was meeting about 90 for each cent of the intake. Right after that, the intake industry grew and plantation slowed down. However, the industry is now hoping to catch up. Assembly seventy five for each cent should really not be a dilemma. Even right now we have the capacity to develop 1 million tonnes. Last year, we made six.5 lakh tonnes and this year we be expecting 7.25 lakh tonnes. Probably future year we will go to 8 lakh tonnes. Also, when the cost moves northwards, creation will also see a spike.
The gap amongst creation and intake should really not be much more than 25 for each cent for any healthy industry. But in the past two many years, the gap has long gone up to 45 for each cent. This will year we will carry it beneath forty for each cent. But it has to increase even further, even though it is a challenge.
What is remaining completed for excellent improvement?
It is a massive challenge. Our autos have been through a big transformation. At one particular level we have splendid roadways and, on the other side, we also have village roadways. So the strain on Indian tyres is tremendous. The uncooked materials employed should really be best class as we also have earth-class factories in India. There are two worries — firstly, the excellent is not constant and there are filth factors. We are functioning with the industry and have also invested closely in training for tappers and graders.
What are the rising models to aid the growth of the industry?
We have mooted an strategy that is actively beneath the consideration of the Authorities of India. We have a proposed a separate institutional mechanism on the strains of massive Chinese corporations that acquire and personal estates. Our entity will be a joint energy amongst making and consuming sectors with all of them having a stake in that. This entity can do agreement farming, processing and offer specialized abilities. We have a big reservoir of technically competent men and women, but there is no right forum to use it effectively. A feasible and worthwhile organization product with anyone on board will support acquire on the Chinese opposition. We have obtained the specialized permission, but the strategy is however in an early stage.