Kochi: Stepping out of a troubled year, rubber production in the country is expected to increase 6% in 2008-09, according to estimates by government trade promotion body Rubber Board.
Rubber production is projected to rise to about 875,000 tonnes this fiscal, said Sajen Peter, chairman of the board.
Production in 2007-08 fell to 825,000 tonnes from 853,000 tonnes in the previous year, chiefly because of heavy rains in Kerala, a key rubber producing state, and a viral fever that kept tappers away from work for more than a month.
Domestic consumption is also expected to rise by 4.5%.
The board expects industries to raise their intake to 899,000 tonnes in 2008-09 from 860,000 tonnes previously, in line with the global trend of rubber consumption shifting to Asian countries.
As for exports, the Rubber Board’s target for 2008-09 is 50,000 tonnes.
In 2007-08, the board had provisionally estimated rubber exports at around 51,000 tonnes, but this is likely to be 55,000 tonnes after final calculations, said Peter.
Rubber exports from India were at 50,045 tonnes in 2006-07.
The Rubber Board is initiating a quality drive on exports and will introduce a logo during an international conference in Kochi, starting 8 May, to mark 50 years of the board’s natural rubber extension and development programmes.
The logo will symbolize a seal of trust with a quality assurance, said Peter.
Exporters who want to ship rubber with the logo will have to get their material tested for grading by the Rubber Board to ensure that it meets international quality parameters.