Conference on rubber tobe held in Ujire on October 23

Rubber growers from different parts of the State will meet in Ujire in Dakshina Kannada on Friday to discuss the future of rubber and other topics.

At the conference, which is being organised by Ujire-based organisations Belthangady Taluk Rubber Growers’ Marketing and Processing Cooperative Ltd. and the Karnataka Rubber Belegarara Hitarakshana Vedike, growers will discuss new clones of rubber, disease control and low-frequency tapping.

President of the society and the vedike Sridhar G. Bhide told The Hindu that 1,000 delegates from Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Shimoga, Chikmagalur and Kodagu districts were expected to attend the conference.

Rubber Board Chairman Sajan Peter will inaugurate the event.

Demands

He said that at the conference the Rubber Board and the Government would be urged to set up a rubber research institute and a model rubber plantation in the State, in addition to a permanent tappers’ training school and a laboratory for soil and leaf analysis.

Exhibition

Mr. Bhide said that an exhibition on rubber would also be organised and would feature different clones of rubber, machinery for making rubber sheets and cultivation methods.

Mr. Bhide said that Nalin Kumar Kateel, MP, Minister for Horticulture Umesh Katti, and other MLAs had been invited to participate at the conference. Scientists from the board would also address farmers, he said.

He said that approximately 25,000 hectares to 30,000 hectares was under rubber cultivation in the State. Farmers growing arecanut in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, and Shimoga districts were shifting to rubber cultivation in a phased manner as they had found rubber to be more profitable than areca.

Earlier, many farmers had converted their paddy fields to areca nut plantations because of scarcity of labourers, he said. Now, farmers were opting for rubber, which required less labour, he said.

Regularisation

He claimed that the State Government had now agreed to regularise rubber plantations up to five acres, which were encroaching upon Government land.

Rubber growers had been urging the Government to consider such plantations as agriculture and regularise them, Mr. Bhide said.

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