R. Ramabhadran Pillai
Demand in Asia to go up by 4 per cent by 2010
KOTTAYAM: Two new rubber clones, developed by the Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII), were released by Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma here on Tuesday. The clones were developed after about 25 years of research.
The institute had released an indigenously developed clone in 1980. The high-yielding clones had revolutionised the country’s natural rubber plantation sector, he said. Large-scale adoption of one of the clone, RRII 105, had led to the country taking the first position in terms of natural rubber productivity.
The achievement is all the more significant given the fact that the agro-climatic conditions prevailing in the rubber-growing regions of the country are not the best as compared to other major rubber growing countries in South Asia. The incremental revenue realised by the growers in the country on account of the higher yield potential of the variety had been to the tune of more than Rs.1,250 crore during 2007-08, he said.
The institute had released two more clones in 2005. These clones are superior to the first one in terms of faster growth, higher yield and more timber production.
There was an increase of Rs.1.03 billion in the 11th Plan outlay for rubber farm sector and a scheme of Rs.4.13 billion was approved for plantation and rubber development. To promote the value added rubber products, rubber was included in the Market Linked Focused Products Scheme (MLFPS) under the new foreign trade policy.
As a result of the economic slowdown, the demand for natural and synthetic rubber contracted by 6.8 per cent and 11.3 per cent respectively last year. The worst affected was the demand from the developed countries. It had necessitated a shift in focus from North America and Europe towards Asia where the demand is expected to increase by 4 per cent by 2010.
The Minister inaugurated the golden jubilee complex of RRII. A book, ‘Towards inclusive rubber development,’ published by the Rubber Board, was released by Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy.
Rubber Board Chairman Sajen Peter said over 150 clones were in various stages of development. The institute was planning to release at least two clones every five years.
RRII Director James Jacob; P.J. Kurien and Jose K. Mani, MPs; and Rubber Board vice-chairman Siby J. Monipally also spoke.