Natural rubber

Natural rubber products: Untapped area

Print edition :
Inadequate production and falling yield per hectare amid rising demand have resulted in strong growth in rubber imports in recent years.

INDIA'S natural rubber imports have been high in recent years, staying above the 4,00,000-tonne mark, on the back of rising consumption, which has hovered around the 1-million-tonne level, according to data from the Rubber Board.

Domestic production has not been able to meet the demand despite a significant rise in tappable area, mainly on account of falling average yield per hectare.

The area under cultivation rose from 7,78,400 hectares in 2013-14 to 820,900 hectares in 2017-18 (provisional estimates), while the tappable area rose from 5,18,100 hectares to 6,12,000 hectares. However, production fell from 7,74,000 tonnes in 2013-14 to 6,94,000 tonnes in 2017-18 (provisional estimates), while the average yield per hectare fell from 1,629 kilograms to 1,458 kg.

Consumption in India rose from 981,520 tonnes in 2013-14 to 11,12,210 tonnes in 2017-18 (provisional estimates) and imports too posted healthy gains, growing from 3,60,263 tonnes to 4,69,760 tonnes.

The top 10 consumers in 2018 were China, India, the United States, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brazil, Vietnam and Germany.

Global consumption of rubber (both natural and synthetic) increased by 1.9 per cent to 29.2 million tonnes in 2018 from 28.4 million tonnes in 2017. The ratio of natural rubber to synthetic rubber consumed in 2018 was 47:53.