A Malaysian money-spinner idea for Kerala’s rubber plantations

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KOTTAYAM, FEBRUARY 6

Even after the Organisation of Exporting Countries () decided to enhance the , could not help in lifting the rubber prices in India as anticipated by the growing community here. Usually, rubber prices go in tandem with .

prices continue to slide and on February 2, 4 was traded at 123 a kg, but even then there are no takers. On the too, prices remain subdued. The relatively low price is the main reason for the decline in production and productivity. Unfavourable weather and the forecast that there will not be any change in coming months is adding to the growers’ woes. This year, Kerala government has not disbursed any amount so far towards subsidy under the Incentive Scheme.

Against this backdrop, a Malaysian experiment to make more money from plantations appears to be relevant. A study by a Malaysian research institute revealed that poultry manure mixed with soil in rubber plantations enhances the fertility of the soil and destroys the weeds. The most important finding of the study is that rubber would reach tappable girth one and a half years ahead. Simultaneously, the productivity also increases in plantations. For open rearing in our plantations besides country fowls, disease-resistant varieties such as Kadakknath, goose, etc are also used.

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”If the and Kerala State Animal Husbandry Department join with Rubber Producers Societies in promoting free ranch poultry rearing, it will be an added income for the small growers,” said KK Ramachandran Pillai, though retired from , still continuing extension activities on various aspects of production.

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