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Close-up bowlful of Natural rubber latex trapped from rubber tree.

250 Rubber Producers Societies to be formed in next 2 years to empower rubber growers

The financial assistance for the Rubber sector under the ‘Sustainable & Inclusive Development of Natural Rubber Sector’ has been increased by 23% from Rs 576.41 crore to Rs 708.69 crore for the next 2 financial years (2024-25 and 2025-26).

To support the rubber industry, planting of rubber will be undertaken in 12,000 ha in traditional areas during 2024-25 and 2025-26 with an outlay of Rs 43.50 crore. For this, the rate of assistance has been increased to Rs. 40,000 per ha from the earlier Rs 25,000 per ha. This will help to cover the increased cost of production as well as provide additional incentive to growers for planting rubber. 3752 ha will be brought under rubber cultivation in non-traditional regions with an outlay of Rs 18.76 crore during the same period.

Planting materials worth Rs 50,000 per ha will be supplied by the Rubber Board. This will be over and above the plantation being carried out under the INROAD project in the North East. Planting assistance at Rs 2,00,000 per ha will be provided for SC growers in non-traditional regions.

Sponsored nurseries will be promoted by the Board in non- traditional areas for generating good quality planting material (new component). Assistance will be provided at Rs 2,50,000 to 20 such nurseries.

The government is planning a slew of measures aimed at productivity enhancement of rubber produced. Towards this, support shall be provided for rain guarding in 67,000 Ha (60,000 in Traditional, 5000 in NT and 2000 in NE) area and plant protection (spraying) in 22,000 ha (20,000 in Traditional and 2000 in NT). An amount of Rs 35.60 crore is envisaged to be provided for this in the next two years.

Further, the scheme promotes forums of smallholders of rubber viz., Rubber Producers Societies (RPS) for empowerment of rubber growers.  In the next two years assistance will be provided for the formation of around 250 new RPSs. The scale of assistance has been increased from Rs 3000 to Rs 5000 and the same will help support farmer education, seminars, group meetings, capacity building activities, exposure visits, model farms and other activities for the overall benefit of stakeholders. Formation of another 1450 farmer clusters will be supported in non-traditional and NE regions. The mobilization of rubber growers into Rubber Producers Societies will help in improving price realization for the rubber produced by the growers.

An assistance of up to Rs 40,000 per RPS will be provided for latex collection and DRC testing equipment to 55 RPSs. For farm mechanization, RPSs will be supported for purchasing sprayer/ dusters. Support up to Rs 30,000 per RPS will be provided to 180 RPSs. To ensure quality and standardization of rubber sheets, setting up of Group Processing Centres (GPC) is being promoted. Construction of 18 GPCs will be supported in the North East and Non-Traditional regions.

Construction of 10 GPCs will be supported in the traditional region. The existing GPCs are proposed to be modernized through setting up Tunnel Smoke house, renovation of furnace, replacing of sheeting battery, overhauling of bio gas plant, Purchase of trolley racks, Pressure washer, Tetra pan and Solar Dripping Facility. Assistance will be provided to 77 GPCs (50 in traditional area, 2 in Non-Traditional areas and 25 in North East). Support will be provided for setting up additional smoke houses and installation of Effluent Treatment systems for Group Processing Centres. Support will be provided for 79 GPCs (Addl. Smoke house-37 nos. and Effluent treatment-42 nos.)

To fund rubber research, an outlay of Rs  29.00 crore has been provided for the next two years. This will aim at developing rubber clones suitable for different agro-climatic regions of the country to expand rubber cultivation to new areas to meet the rising demand in the country. It involves conservation of germplasm, plant breeding and extensive multi-locational field trials to evaluate growth, productivity and disease tolerance of hundreds of hybrid seedlings every year.

With a view to improving service delivery to rubber growers, the Rubber Board will intensify its digitization efforts and provide fast and instant services through its mobile based apps as well use drones for geo-tagging etc. An amount of Rs 8.91 crore has been provided for overall digitization of Rubber Board.

Establishment of three nodal centres of National Institute of Rubber training (NIRT) in NE region Agartala, Guwahati and Nagaland have been proposed with an outlay of Rs 5.25 crore in next two years, primarily to promote MSMEs in this region by imparting training in product manufacture and quality control. During 2024-25 and 2025-26, a total of 712 training programmes are planned across the country which will benefit 10,700 individuals including 3800 persons in NE region.

The welfare measures are implemented to improve the quality of life of workers, to retain the existing tappers/workers and for attracting more tappers, particularly women tappers. Various measures like Educational Stipend, Women empowerment schemes, Assistance for House construction, Group Life Insurance cum Terminal Benefit, Personal Accident Insurance Scheme and pension scheme have been provided for with an outlay of Rs  7.02 crore for the next two years.

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