The growing trend in production of Natural Rubber (NR) continued with 5.7 per cent growth during April–August 2017 in India as compared to the corresponding period last year, Rubber Board, India Chairman and Executive Director A Ajith Kumar has said. He was speaking at the 175th board meeting of the Rubber Board at Kottayam, Kerala. He added that Import of NR further declined by 11.6 per cent during April–August 2017 as compared to the corresponding period last year and 66 per cent of the import was through duty paid channel.

“Production of NR during April – August, 2016 was 245,000 tonnes. This has been increased to 259,000 tonnes during the corresponding period in 2017. The projected production in 2017-18 is 800,000 tonnes, recording a growth of 16 per cent over last year,” he said.

Import of NR had been consistently increasing from 2008-09 reaching 458,374 tonnes in 2015-16. However, in 2016-17, import of NR had declined for the first time by seven per cent to 426,188 tonnes. Import of NR is projected at 320,000 tonnes in 2017-18. NR consumption during the same period increased from 433,930 tonnes to 441,380 tonnes, with a slight increase of 1.7 per cent.

“Natural Rubber consumption is projected at 1.07 million tonnes in 2017-18. Export of NR during April-August 2017 was 4,152 tonnes. Stock of NR at the end of August 2017 was 232,000 tonnes,” said Chairman.

Ajith Kumar pointed out that Rubber Board has been continuing its efforts to increase rubber production and productivity and to reduce cost of production. “The second phase of RPL project being implemented in Kerala, Tripura, Assam, Tamilnadu and Karnataka is at its final stage and it is proposed to upskill 22,000 labours in the rubber sector under the programme,” he added.

Global NR production

The International Rubber Study Group (IRSG) forecast world production and consumption of NR for 2017 at 12.93 and 12.88 million tonnes respectively. According to them, the world NR production and consumption during the first quarter of 2017 increased by 9.1 per cent and 4.9 per cent respectively. The Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC) estimates NR production during the first eight months of 2017 at 8.04 million tonnes and consumption at 8.54 million tonnes.