US, China to boost natural rubber production

OPPORTUNITIES for production and growth in demand for natural rubber are encouraging in view of the improvement in the economic indicators of the US, China, Japan and Europe, says Kamarul Baharain Basir, Secretary General of the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRC).

There would be an increase of 4.7% in NR supply to 10.83 million tonnes in 2012 whilst the consumption would rise 4.8% to 11.59 million tonnes. Of this, China would consume 3.67 million tonnes and India one million tonne.

He urges for the demand-supply gap to be addressed and governments should extend incentives to farmers to enable them to increase production.

The industry needs to be encouraged to set up captive NR plantations he says, likewise urging NR producers to source and develop alternative sources of NR such as Russian Dandelion, guayule, sugar and glycol.
James Jacob, Director of the Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII), says that with the aid of satellites, the institute had successfully developed the capability to identify potential areas for new rubber cultivation in any part of the world and to study the impact of global warming on NR productivity.

From satellite images, it is estimated that Tripura has about 58,637 has of NR plantations as of March 2012 and has a potential to cultivate rubber in 100,000 has. Northeast as a whole has the potential to grow rubber in 450,000 has while only less than one-fourth of the actual potential is now achieved.

It is estimated that for every one degree rise in temperature, there would be about 15% decline in productivity.

During the past 50 years, the maximum temperature at RRII campus in Kottayam has risen by 2.60 degree Celsius and minimum by 1.50 degree Celsius whilst the annual rainfall decreased by 375 mm, he said.

Rajiv Budhraja, Director General of the Automotive Tyre Manufacturers Association (ATMA), said there had been unprecedented capacity creation in the tyre sector in the last four to five years in view of the rise in demand from the automobile sector.

The new thrust being given by the government for development of road infrastructure has led to 33% increase in bus production in two years. Besides, the depreciation of the Indian rupee by up to 17% in the last 12 months has provided a strong impetus for tyre exports, which went up 46% during the period.
Vinod Simon, President of the All India Rubber Industries Association (AIRIA) says India would be the second largest global player in rubber by 2020, next only to China. India is the fourth largest commercial vehicles market and the second largest -wheeler market globally and is poised to become the global automobile hub.

Putting in place a three-tier mechanism composed of producers societies, rubber marketing societies and rubber marketing federation to boost production and marketing has been suggested by PC Cyriac, erstwhile chairman of the Indian Rubber Board. (RJA)