Agartala, Dec 8 (PTI): The Rubber Board has set a target of 2 lakh hectares of rubber cultivation in the northeastern states by 2025 to increase production, a senior official said.
At present, seven states of the region together produce around 2 lakh MT of rubber annually and Tripura tops with one lakh MT.
“We have launched a plan, NE MITRA, to increase rubber cultivation and rubber production in the seven states of the northeast. Under the plan, 2 lakh hectares of land will be brought under rubber cultivation in the region by 2025,” Rubber Board chairman Dr Sawar Dhanania said.
It was found that except Sikkim, all other NE states – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura – are agro-climatically suitable for raising rubber plantations.
Tripura is the considered second rubber capital of the country after Kerala. There are 1.15 lakh rubber growers in the northeastern state where the population is only 40 lakh.
Dhanania said that despite the Covid pandemic, Tripura has made significant progress in rubber cultivation. Rubber plantation was done in 2,374 hectares in 2021 and 8,400 hectares in 2022.
“The Rubber Board has submitted a Rs 500 crore project for the overall development of the rubber sector in Tripura. Since the state has huge potential in the rubber wood segment, we proposed to the chief minister to promote rubber-based industrial units here,” he said.
The Rubber Board chairman has met Tripura Chief Minister Manik Saha earlier this week.
At present, Tripura Forest Development Corporation Ltd (TFDPC) runs a rubber wood factory at Anandanagar in West Tripura district. It processes old rubber trees produced by TFDPC itself.
“We want the state to set up wood processing units either on the PPP model or in the private sector to facilitate rubber growers to sell their trees after 30 years of existence,” Dhandhania said.
Sepahijala district has the highest number of plantations – 17,000 hectares – and a rubber wood factory can be established there, he said.