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RUBBER NEWS INDIA - Output to fall almost 15% because of Kerala floods: Rubber Board chief September 18, 2018
(Last Updated: 19 Sep 2018)



Output to fall almost 15% because of Kerala floods: Rubber Board chief


“The colossal Kerala floods enormously affected the cultivation and production of natural rubber. There would be over 100,000 tonne less production of rubber as there are huge negative effects in rubber cultivation due to the flood,” Rubber Board Chairman and Executive Director D. Anandan told IANS.

“We had expected 700,000 tonnes of rubber production during the 2018-19 financial year, but due to the effect of devastated flood the production is likely to be 600,000 tonnes in the current fiscal,” he added. That’s almost 15 per cent less.

According to Anandan, a huge number of rubber trees were destroyed and perished in the flood and resulting soil erosion.

The destructive floods in  and August claimed 495 lives while 20 persons are still reported missing. The Kerala government has sought  4,700 crore in ompensation from the central government for the damage in all the state’s 14 districts.

Anandan, a 2000 batch IAS officer of the Sikkim cadre, along with many other officials and India’s rubber industries’ executives, were here to address a rubber conclave organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

He said that after reaching peaks during 2011 and 2012, rubber prices declined mainly due to slackening world  growth as well as low growth in China — the largest rubber consuming country in the world — and relatively low prices of  and .

“In India, the original region to cultivate rubber commercially was in (what is now) Kerala and parts of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Growing demand for natural rubber to make for domestic self-sufficiency and anticipated saturation of suitable land in traditional regions caused a shift to non-traditional areas, including the northeastern states,” Anandan noted.

“Rubber plantations could be developed and managed under suboptimal agro-climatic conditions as prevailing in northeastern India,” he added.

The Rubber Board chief said the small holdings sector accounts for 91 per cent of planted area and 92 per cent of rubber production in India and the average size of a holding wasas low as 0.57 hectares.

Even though the northeastern states were categorised as non-traditional areas for rubber cultivation, about 105,500 hectares of land is under rubber cultivation in the region, including in Tripura, Assam, Meghalaya and Nagaland.

The Kerala-based Rubber Research Institute of India has identified 450,000 hectares of land suitable for rubber cultivation in the region.

India has 600,000 hectares of land under rubber plantations, producing on an average around 750,000 tonne of rubber annually.

Tripura is the second largest rubber producer in India after Kerala with 85,000 hectares of land under plantation, producing 65,330 tonnes of rubber annually.

Tripura’s annual turnover from rubber cultivation is about Rs 500 crore.

Anandan said that Tripura accounted for 10.3 per cent of rubber area and 9.4 per cent of rubber production in the country. The state accounted for 45 per cent of rubber area and 58 per cent of rubber production in the entire northeast region.

“Natural rubber is one of the most critical and strategic  in modern world. Rubber products are used far and wide in the health sector and households, apart from the sports and entertainment sectors,” he added.

CII’s North East Council Chairman S.K.Barua said that National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning has estimated that another 150,000 hectare can be brought under rubber cultivation in Tripura.

“The prospects to develop rubber industry in Tripura and other northeastern states have enhanced further due to the recent decision on allowing access to parts of India through Bangladesh via the land and sea routes.

“The Bangladesh government has changed its policy to allow exports of rubber sheets from the northeastern states through the Agartala-Akhaura land port station. This would immensely benefit the rubber industry,” Barua added.



Rains hit rubber output


Weekly production down by 500 tonnes after Kerala deluge



Production of rubber is certain to see a fall this year, with plantations in Kerala, especially in the central Travancore belt, experiencing an abnormal leaf-fall disease in the wake of the unprecedented rain of the last few months.

The emerging situation has impacted production and the Rubber Board is collecting data, which is likely to be published in a week. There are also reports of shoot-rot disease in immature plantations, which may result in the delayed maturity of plantations. There is a shortage in the market and the trade is also getting affected, sources in the Rubber Board said.

The output concern has already resulted in a firming trend in rubber prices over the past few days. Spot rubber prices, which were hovering around 131 per kg in early August have now moved up to 134 per kg. Similarly, rubber futures on the National Multi Commodity Exchange settled higher on supply concerns. The September contract ended at 13,425 per 100 kg on the NMCE on Monday.

Shajimon Jose of Chirakkadavu RPS in Kanjirappilli said production has come down in the last couple of weeks, at 1,000-1,200 tonnes against the Board’s targeted weekly production of 1,500 tonnes.

The rains, which began in April, also resulted in the loss of almost 40 tapping days per hectare. Lower price realisation is also staring at the sector, impacting cultivation in large areas.

Besides, GST has forced the sector to bleed. For natural rubber, rates are very nominal, at 5 per cent. But other inputs, such as plastic, gum, spill, tapping cup, cup holder etc invites a GST rate of 18 per cent. The rain guarding cost per tree has risen to 6.20, he said.

PC Cyriac, President of the Indian Farmers Movement blamed the low prices on imports. As long as these shipments are not reduced, he said, the situation will worsen. He urged the captains of the manufacturing industry to offer viable prices for domestic rubber.

Tyre lobby fears output fall

Rajiv Budharaja, Director General, Automotive Tyre Manufacturers Association, said that production is expected to be gravely affected due to incessant rains and floods. Already, the gap between production and demand is widening. In Q1, more than 40 per cent of the demand had to be met from imports due to a domestic deficit.

There was limited tapping in July because of rains and in August, there has been virtually no production. Arrivals in the market are practically nil. On the other hand, there is a sudden upsurge in demand from OEMs for commercial vehicles and tractor tyres. Both these categories are very intensive in using natural rubber.

“The industry expects a gap of over half a million tonnes in the ongoing fiscal. This definitely needs the attention of the government,” he said.

There is a need to assess and re-look at the medium-term situation because of damage to plantations. Each rubber tree has a life span of 25-30 years. An assessment also needs to be carried out to see how natural rubber production is affected, he added.

Meanwhile, India Ratings & Research said the disruption in natural rubber supply from Kerala would force the tyre companies to resort to higher imports to meet rising tyre demand. Domestic production meets over 50 per cent of the requirements of tyre companies in India and Kerala accounts for close to 90 per cent of the total domestic rubber production. Natural rubber imports attract a duty of 25 per cent. Additionally, with a depreciating rupee, imports are likely to be more expensive and thus will hurt margins of tyre companies amid a rise in rubber procurement costs, IndRa said.

Published on August 27, 2018


Falling rubber output, rising consumption increase imports

The production-consumption gap widens in the first quarter of FY19 to 58% against 46% in Q1FY18

With the date of the fourth edition of India Rubber Meet (IRM-2018) to be held in Kochi drawing closer, the issue that is haunting the rubber sector and all stakeholders is the widening gap between output and consumption. Suresh Prabhu, minister for commerce and industry, will inaugurate IRM-2018, organised by the  and stakeholder associations in rubber and allied sectors, on August 30.

The theme of the two-day IRM is “Towards a sustainable rubber value chain” and the discussions would focus on scenario, trends, challenges and strategic planning for sustainability and advancement of the sector.

In the first quarter of 2018-19, production of natural rubber has hit a six-year low of 126,000 tonnes and consumption reached a peak of 302,000 tonnes. The production-consumption gap has widened to 58 per cent from 46 per cent in the year-ago period.