Staff Reporter

High humidity levels help

KOCHI: Natural rubber production in the State has jumped 24 per cent during April-June period thanks largely to increased number of tapping days and good weather conditions. High humidity levels and scarce rains have helped increase the production during the period while widespread use of rainguards has also helped, said Rubber Board sources.

Stocks in plenty

Since the price of natural rubber started climbing ahead of the rains, rubber growers were quick to install rainguards. While the average number of tapping days during June last year was five to eight, this year it has gone up to nearly 20. Natural rubber production in June so far is pegged at over 60,000 tonnes. Increased production has also helped boost the natural rubber stock. It is estimated that stocks have gone up from last year’s 1.24 lakh tonnes to 1.38 lakh tonnes.

Coupled with rains, spread of chikunguniya in rubber-growing areas had drastically reduced the number of tapping days last year. The production fall last year has also been attributed to a disease of the rubber trees which led to unseasonal shedding of the leaves.

Despite better production rubber prices continued to firm up in the terminal markets in the State. In Kochi RSS-4 rate stood at Rs.136.50 on Wednesday. The week had opened with RSS-4 ruling at Rs.135.