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Feb 21, 2024
Govt raises funding for development of natural rubber sector

The union government has increased the allocation sustainable development of the natural rubber sector scheme for the next two financial years (2024-26) by 23 per cent from Rs. 576.41 crore to Rs. 708.69 crore, a senior official said on Monday. This comes amid a shortfall in availability of natural rubber which has resulted in rising import of natural rubber from countries such as Vietnam, Malaysia and other Southeast Asian nations. There are over 13 lakh rubber growers in the country with Kerala accounting for a major chunk of the production, which was 8.39 lakh tonnes in FY23. Consumption, however, during FY23 stood at 13.5 lakh tonnes.

Additional Secretary in the Commerce Ministry Amardeep Singh Bhatia said that the funds will be used for supporting the plantation of rubber, generation of planting material, productivity enhancement, formation of rubber producers societies, and rubber research and training.

"The outlay (has) increased by 23 per cent from Rs. 576.41 crore to Rs. 708.69 crore for the next two financial years", Bhatia told reporters here. In traditional areas, including Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, plantation of rubber will be undertaken on 12,000 hectares.

Bhatia said that the government is not considering any cut in import duty on rubber as of now as the differential between the local and international prices is maintained. The rate of assistance has been increased to Rs. 40,000 per hectare from the previous Rs. 25,000 per hectare, he said, adding that it will help to cover the increased cost of production as well as provide additional incentive to growers.

In non-traditional areas like Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and north-east states, 3,752 hectares will be brought under rubber cultivation during 2024-26. The scheme is implemented through the Rubber Board. Bhatia further said that an outlay of Rs. 29 crore has been provided for the next two years for rubber research.

"This will aim at developing rubber clones suitable for different agro-climatic regions of the country to expand rubber cultivation to new areas", Bhatia said.

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