Agartala: The Rubber Board is now focussing on NE states for rubber cultivation with Rs 18 crore allocated for the region for the current financial year.
This is because Kerala and other traditional rubber producing states have saturated their scope for further cultivation of natural rubber.
Stating this Rubber Board chairman Sajen Peter told newsmen here today that in the traditional areas like Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka the scope for cultivation of rubber was now saturated and the board was looking after the non-traditional areas for rubber cultivation to meet the growing demand of natural rubber in the country.
During the 10th plan to be ended in 2007, Rs 84 crore would be spent in the North-Eastern states. Fifty per cent of allocation would be spent in Tripura, the second largest rubber cultivation state in the country after Kerala, he said adding that every year 2000 hectares of new area was being added for rubber cultivation in the N E region.
At present 54000 hectares area in the region was brought under the rubber cultivation while 33220 hectares area was already dedicated to rubber cultivation in Tripura alone.
Mr Peter said that the national average of productivity of rubber is 1705 kg per hectare, while in Kerala the productivity is 2000 kg per hectare and in the NE region the productivity is lowest of 1000 kg per hectare.
To increase the productivity and cultivation area, the rubber board has taken a series of steps for community processing, productivity enhancement plan and encouraging the private growers to provide various financial assistance.
In Tripura there is a big scope for cultivation of rubber in one lakh hectare areas, but Forest Conservation Act has some bindings to use forest land for non-forest purposes.