India’s RCPSDC to aid Tripura rubber tappers to improve skills

India’s RCPSDC to aid Tripura rubber tappers to improve skills

Delhi-based RCPSDC (Rubber, Chemical & Petrochemical Skill Development Councilhas tied up with the Tripura state government, in north eastern India, to improve the livelihoods of rubber growers belonging to OBC Cooperative Development Corporation community through a project involving skills training in rubber tapping and processing besides creating a necessary infrastructure.

The project is aimed at introduction of rain guarding, skilled tapping and scientific latex processing to produce quantitatively higher and qualitatively better natural rubber, says RCPSDC. The project will involve 100 rubber workers, of whom women will account for over 21% of the total to achieve gender equality.

“Lack of properly trained tappers, absence of rain-guarding of rubber plants, lack of focus on quality and lack of Industry linkages have stifled the growth of the natural rubber sector in Tripura. We aim to make a difference to the lives of the OBC community through skill training under the aegis of Tripura government,” said Shewani Nagpal, COO of RCPSDC.

Currently a large potential in Tripura is untapped both in terms of production and quality of rubber. The state produces less than 1,200 Kg per hectare of rubber planted area as compared to national average of 1,500 kg per hectare.  Currently, only 30-40% of the rubber produced in Tripura is in the form of quality rubber sheet which matches the requirements of the industry.

A large percentage of rubber produced is a low quality ‘lot’ rubber or ‘ungraded’ rubber. With skills training and support to the rubber growers, 60-70% of the rubber produced can be graded sheet rubber – mostly RSS 3 and RSS 4.

“With skill development and handholding support, it is expected that the efficiency of rubber tappers shall improve with better quality yield and increase in production volumes. Better market linkage along with the production of improved rubber sheet as provisioned in the project shall improve the livelihoods of the rubber growers particularly the women rubber growers leading to significant socio economic improvement,” said Kuntal Das, TCS, MD, Tripura OBC Development Corporation Ltd.

Every year approximately 50-60 days of production is lost due to non-availability of rain guarding (20% of the tapping days in a year), to eliminate this problem, RCPSDC will be giving training for rain guarding which will result in the increment of productivity of latex up to 1,500kg/hectare from 1,200kg/hectare leading to 16% increase in monthly incomes of the growers.

Skilful tapping (without harming the tree) will ensure yield from rubber trees for a prolonged period of 30 years which lasts only 12-18 years if done unskilfully.

Moreover, through scientific latex processing growers can upgrade their rubber sheet quality up to RSS4 fetching them an extra Rs. 40/kg. So, as a project outcome, the overall increase in monthly incomes of the rubber growers is estimated at 32%.

For this, rubber growers will undergo intensive skill training in the job role of Latex Harvest Technician (tapper) for 240 hours lasting two months. RCPSDC will undertake training through its training partners and also conduct assessment of the students. Successful students will be certified by RCPSDC.