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Rubber

Rubber is found in the fluid of some specific plants but it can also be produced synthetically. Synthetic rubber is produced through the process of polymerization of various monomers. Naturally, rubber is produced by the process of tapping of the plant called Hevea Brasiliensis. The most important forms in which NR is processed are Sheets, Crepes, Block Rubber and Preserved Latex Concentrates. Natural rubber (NR) processed into blocks adopting a new processing techniques is a notable improvement in the presentation of dry natural rubber.

The rubber tree is a native of the Amazon River basin in South America. The ideal rubber growing regions should be 8 degree North of Equator, 10 degree South of Equator, high temperature, altitude not beyond 400m and high humidity. India is the fourth largest natural rubber producing country of the world, next to Thailand and Indonesia, producing about 9 per cent of the global output. In India, block rubber is marketed with BIS specifications (IS4588 - 1986) and therefore, this rubber is termed as Indian Standard Natural Rubber (ISNR).

Rubber area in India is highly concentrated, approximately 80% in Kerala. Therefore, production is exposed to narrow demographic and geographical factors. The rubber growing regions in India can be classified under two major zones, traditional and non-traditional, on the basis of agro-climatic conditions. Within traditional zones, major areas include, hinterlands of southwest coast, mainly in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. These are hinterlands of coastal Karnataka, Goa, Konkan Region of Maharashtra, hinterlands of coastal Andhra Pradesh and Orissa, the northeastern states, Andaman and Nicobar Islands etc, where rubber is now being grown. In recent years among non-traditional region Tripura has become one of the most thrust areas for Rubber growing because of its well acceptance world wide. In fact, Tripura has recently been declared the "Second Rubber Capital of India" by the Rubber Board.

Significant price spread between domestic and overseas markets saw a huge increase in import that raised concerns among growers. As a safeguard measure to protect domestic producers, imports of natural rubber of all varieties/forms are limited to two sea ports of Chennai and Mumbai.

The major domestic markets of rubber are Kottayam, Kochi, Kozhikode and Kannur in Kerala. In year 2017-18, total rubber production in India has been projected to remain at 694,000 tonne with average yield of 1449 kg/hec. Moreover, import and export of rubber has been pegged at 5072 tonne and 4,69,760 tonne respectively during 2017-18.

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