The growth in tappable area has facilitated the Rubber Board to project a 10 per cent rise in natural rubber production in the country at 750,000 tonnes in 2019-20 as against 648,000 tonnes in the previous fiscal.
The tappable area, according to KN Raghavan, Chairman and Executive Director, Rubber Board, has gone up from 640,000 hectares in 2018-19 to 665,000 ha in 2019-20, because of measures taken to increase production and continuation of the Rubber Production Incentive Scheme in Kerala in 2019-20.
The natural rubber consumption is projected at 1270,000 tonne in 2019-20, supported by economic growth and higher import duty and anti-dumping duty on tyres, he said at the Board meeting. The consumption has increased from 111,2210 tonnes in 2017-18 to 1211,940 tonne in 2018-19.
According to provisional estimates, the production in 2018-19 was 648,000 tonnes, 6.6 per cent lower than the previous fiscal. The production was 694,000 tonnes in 2017-18 and the initial projection for 2018-19 was 730,000 tonnes. However, it was below the expected levels owing to excessive rains and floods and the consequent high level of abnormal leaf fall disease.
The imports also increased by 24 per cent in 2018-19 and 70 per cent of the imports was through duty-paid channel. As in the previous years, 81 per cent of imports was in the form of block rubber. The major factors behind the import are the differences in prices between domestic sheet rubber and international block rubber and shortage of rubber in the domestic market. The import during the current fiscal was 582,381 tonnes and it is projected at 500,000 tonnes in 2019-20.
According to the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC), the world natural production in 2019 is anticipated to be 14.08 million tonnes. As per the report of International Rubber Study Group (IRSG), the world production increased by 2.4 per cent and consumption increased by 4.6 per cent in 2018 with a surplus of 56,000 tonnes.
Rubber production in 2018 contracted in India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Sri Lanka, which was more than offset by strong output expansion in Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar and Ivory Coast. The global rubber exports growth was flat in 2018 owing to deceleration in the pace of growth in import demand, mainly from China. The production and consumption in 2019 are estimated at 14.26 and 14.23 million tonnes respectively with a surplus of 30,000 tonne.