Demand pegged at 9.6 lakh tonnes this fiscal; concern among consuming industry
The Rubber Board estimates that natural rubber production in the country during the current financial year would be in the vicinity of 5.6 lakh tonnes against a projected demand for 9.6 lakh tonnes.
The rubber production figures, which came up at an official meeting of the board at the end of April, have triggered some concern among the consuming industry about the availability as well as the reliability of the figures, considering the present adverse weather conditions that prevent any tapping.
Rajiv Budhraja, director general, the Automotive Tyre Manufacturers’ Association (ATMA), said the Rubber Board projection for 2015-16 proved to be around 25 per cent less than the actual production. There was a shortage of 1.87 lakh tonnes between the figures of estimated production and actual production, he said.
Poor price levels
The tyre-makers conceded that actual production during the last financial year was affected by poor price levels. However, ATMA alleged that the board usually started the year with projections of high production and tapered the estimates as the year progressed.
Speaking for the farmers, Siby Moniappally, a former member of the board, said that India should be able to produce its requirement of natural rubber even under the trying circumstances.
However, he reiterated an earlier demand that the board should estimate actual production capability so that import could be reduced to the minimum to sustain natural rubber cultivation in the country.
He said the price of rubber, despite rising about 40 per cent over last year’s levels, was not remunerative for the farmers. If the price was held over Rs.150 a kg (RSS-4), farmers would be encouraged to venture into tapping, he added.
According to provisional figures released by the board, India produced 5.63 lakh tonnes of rubber during last year against the previous year’s level of 6.45 lakh tonnes. Consumption during 2015-16 stood at 9.87 lakh tonnes.
The consuming industry imported 4.54 lakh tonnes during last year. While there was a shortage of nearly 13 per cent in production during 2015-16 compared to the previous year, consumption fell 3.3 per cent during the period.
Rubber Board estimates production at 5.6 lakh tonnes
Demand pegged at 9.6 lakh tonnes this fiscal