The country is targeting a production of 9.5 lakh tonnes of natural rubber in 2014-15, Rubber Board Chairperson Sheela Thomas today said.
The production this fiscal is 8.5 lakh tonnes so far.
“Our estimate was that production would touch over nine lakh tonnes. However, due to some climatic conditions and low prevailing prices of natural rubber, production had come down,” she told reporters here.
China, the largest consumer of natural rubber, used to import substantial quantity of rubber during January-February. But this year the did not do so and this led to a slump in global demand. This coupled with the economic downturn caused the rubber prices to dip, she said.
Faced with declining prices, farmers in various parts of Kerala stopped tapping, she said.
During the next fiscal, the expectations were that the consumption will touch 10.10 lakh tonnes as against nine lakh tonnes this year.
India has imported 2.70 lakh tonnes of rubber till January this year and according to board estimates it is expected to touch three lakh tonnes by March 31.
Pointing that the board was expanding Rubber cultivation to the North East, barring Sikkim, she said in Tripura about 60,000 hectares have been brought under rubber cultivation.
Cultivation is also being expanded to some parts of Karnataka, Odissha, certain districts of Maharashtra and Goa. In Kerala, more plantations are coming up in the northern most district of Kasaragod, she added.