Staff Reporter

Call to improve quality of the produce

  • Scope for growth of rubber wood industry: Rubber Board Chairman
  • `Local rubber wood industry should follow international standards'

    KOCHI: Rubber Board Chairman Sajan Peter said here on Tuesday that natural rubber exports had to continue even in the face of difficulties and that by improving the quality of the produce from farmers, domestic consumers would be able to get higher quality raw material.

    Mr. Peter was inaugurating a discussion on the share of natural rubber production in Kerala's economy organised by Kerala Darshana Vedi. He also pointed out that rubber wood industry held out scope for growth and that the local rubber wood industry should rise to the standards prevailing in other rubber producing countries.

    George Varghese, of Apollo Tyres who delivered the keynote address, said that rubber had turned out to be the unfailing tree for Kerala.

    The democratic nature of rubber production and business was stressed at the discussion. About 80 per cent of the rubber production in Kerala happens in holdings that are less than half-an-acre.

    About four lakh people depend on tapping and processing natural rubber. Registered agencies that deal in rubber number more than 4,000. It is because of this that rubber comes to play a catalytic role in Kerala's economy.

    Based on the current price levels, natural rubber brings about Rs.7,380 crores into the State and the State can become a hub for rubber-based industry. The technically qualified hands available in Kerala are one of the major advantages of the State in this regard.

    A.P. Mathai, Chairman of Kerala Darshana Vedi, presided over the discussions held at the G. Auditorium. K.K. Karnan, chairman of the KKR Group of Companies, and N. Radhakrishnan, president of the Cochin Rubber Merchants' Association, were among those who participated.

    Record exports

    Kottayam Staff Reporter writes:

    The natural rubber sector has registered a record 28,617 tonne exports during the first quarter of the current fiscal, Rubber Board chairman Sajan Peter has said. This denotes a whopping 5.7 fold increase from the 5,056 tonne exports realised during the same period last year. Speaking at the Board meeting held here on Monday, Mr. Peter also said that the imports during the same period had registered a fall from 28,132 tonnes last year to 20,551 tonnes during the first quarter of 2006-07.

    Exports are expected to increase as long as the international prices rule higher than the indigenous prices, he pointed out. He added that such a mechanism was necessary.

    The stock position till June 2005 was to the tune of 89,696, but this year this has come down to 64,000 tonnes, he pointed out.

    As per Rubber Board projections, rubber production this year would touch 8,31,000 tonnes and consumption, 8,41,000 tonnes.

    Export targets

    The export targets have been fixed at 50,000 tonnes and imports at 45,000 tonnes, he said.

    Last year production had touched 8,02,625 tonnes denoting a growth of 7.1 per cent while consumption registered a growth rate of 6.1 per cent to touch 8,01,110 tonnes.

    Mr. Peter expressed confidence that rubber prices would remain buoyant on the basis of increased demands from China and Japan and the spiralling petroleum prices.

    Last year, global rubber consumption had registered a 5.2 per cent growth and had touched 87.8 lakh tonnes. The only exception to the general trend of growth was Malaysia, he said.