The Rubber Board, jointly with the Central government and the Automotive Tyre Manufacturers’ Association, is implementing a project to expand the area under natural rubber in the Northeastern States.
Executive Director of Rubber Board M. Vasanthagesan told The Hindu on Wednesday in Coonoor that of the 8.5 lakh hectares under rubber in the country, almost 5 lakh hectares was in Kerala and Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu and 1 lakh hectares was in Tripura. In a move to expand the area in non-traditional States, the Rubber Board was implementing a project to bring 2 lakh hectares under natural rubber in the Northeastern States, except Sikkim, but including West Bengal. The tyre manufacturers, who were the main consumers of rubber, were investing ₹1,000 crore in the five-year project that commenced in 2021.
The potential in these States was for 4 lakh hectares, he added. Considering challenges such as landslides, it was decided to plant rubber on 2 lakh hectares. Almost 27,000 hectares was covered last financial year and about 40,000 hectares would be covered this year. In the next two years, the remaining areas would be brought under rubber cultivation.
The project was expected to bring in socio-economic benefits and States such as Chattisgarh were evincing interest in rubber cultivation, Mr. Vasanthagesan added.