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On Tripura Rubber
On Tripura Rubber
On Tripura Rubber
On Tripura Rubber
On Tripura Rubber
On Tripura Rubber
On Tripura Rubber
On Tripura Rubber
On Tripura Rubber
On Tripura Rubber
On Tripura Rubber
On Tripura Rubber
On Tripura Rubber
On Tripura Rubber
On Tripura Rubber
On Tripura Rubber
On Tripura Rubber
On Tripura Rubber
On Tripura Rubber
On Tripura Rubber
On Tripura Rubber
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On Tripura Rubber

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Provides an insight to the development of rubber plantations in the Tripura state of Northeast India

Provides an insight to the development of rubber plantations in the Tripura state of Northeast India

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  • 1. Tripura Rubber Mission- Technical Bulletin 1, 2006 A Status Report on Rubber Plantations in Tripura Indraneel Bhowmik Research Advisor, TRM Introduction Natural Rubber (NR) is obtained from the latex of the tree Hevea Brasilliensis, a tree of Amazonian origin and thrives best in the tropical region. NR is the most widely used elastomer in the world. It is used as industrial raw material for almost 50,000 goods. The demand for NR arises in all the countries and is highly correlated to the levels of industrialisation and the standard of living. China is the world’s largest consumer of NR followed by USA and Japan. India is the fourth largest consumer of NR in the world. NR consumption in the world has been growing at an average rate of 3 percent during the period 2000-2005. However, the production of NR is limited to certain countries owing to the requirement of specific agro-climatic conditions. The supply of NR in the world market comes mainly from the South East Asian countries. Thailand is the world’s largest producer of NR followed by Indonesia and Malaysia. India, similar to the demand sector holds the fourth rank even in the supply market. Unlike other major producers of NR, India’s NR production caters to the domestic market mostly. Kerala and the Kanya Kumari district of Tamil Nadu comprise the traditional zone of NR production in India and the history of rubber plantation dates back to the early nineteenth century. Kerala occupies 84 percent of the total area under rubber plantation in the country but contributes about 92 percent of the total production (Rubber Statistics 2005, Rubber Board). In 2004- 05, India had plantations in 578000 hectares and produced 749665 tonnes of NR. But paucity of new land in the traditional zone on one hand and increasing demand for NR following greater automation and economic development on the other warrants exploration of new areas for expansion of rubber plantation. Extension activities of the Rubber Board had been in vogue since its inception but the major thrust in expansion began mostly after 1970 and presently rubber plantation in various dimensions stands in seventeen of the states and Union Territories of India. The National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning has identified 450000 hectares of land in the North-eastern region as suitable for rubber plantation. Thus the non-traditional zone is the area where lies the potential for expansion of rubber plantations to avail higher levels of production. The survey suggests that around 100000 hectares of land in Tripura can be utilised for rubber plantations (Bahuguna, Dr.V.K, Action Plan for Expansion of Rubber in Tripura, 2005). The Rubber tree in Tripura was introduced by the state forest department in 1963 in Patichhari as part of afforestation programme. The Hevea Brasilliensis is known for its huge potential in generating biomass and provides for a heavy canopy. However, with
  • 2. Tripura Rubber Mission- Technical Bulletin 1, 2006 those trees maturing in the early 1970s opened up a new opportunity for the state to explore. Though rubber in Tripura had a modest beginning, it’s potential for both the government and the people of the state identified both economic and ecological benefits. Tripura had 29120.67 ha of rubber plantation (Bahuguna, Dr. V.K, 1995) in the state according to Rubber Board till 31st March 2005 and has emerged as the second largest state in terms of area under rubber plantation since 1991(Rubber Statistics, 2005, Rubber Board) Objectives of the study o Identify the areas of existing rubber plantations in the state at the sub-divisional level. o Identify the nature of the ownership of plantations in the state and also trace their location at the sub divisional level. o Analyse the growth patterns of expansion of rubber plantations and trace inter-decadal variations, if any. o Study the impact of targets set by different agencies involve with rubber plantation and production. o Identify problems in expansion of rubber plantations in the state, if any. o Suggest ways and means for further expansion of rubber plantation in the state. Methodology. o The present study has been undertaken mainly on the basis of secondary sources except for a small sample survey at two rubber production centres operated under the aegis of TRPC. o The available literatures on the economy of the state and on rubber plantations in the state have been mostly referred. o The statistical data used in the study were collected from offices of different agencies related to the plantation of rubber. The Rubber Board provided the major chunk of the data. Permit registers of the Rubber Board preserved at the three regional offices situated at Agartala, Udaipur and Dharmanagar were the basis for identification of the locations of the rubber plantations. o The address quoted for the permit holder has been the basis of identification of the district and subdivision. o Secondary data was also collected from the Tripura Forest Development and Plantation Corporation Ltd (TFDPC) and Tripura Rehabilitation and Plantation Corporation (TRPC). o The raw data was processed using standard statistical and mathematical software namely- SPSS and MS Excel to derive the desired form. o A comparison between the growth rates in area under different agencies has been made. An exponential trend equation given
  • 3. Tripura Rubber Mission- Technical Bulletin 1, 2006 by Yt = log a + t (log b) + u has been used. The measures of r2 as well as the ‘t’ test are also considered. o Such comparisons have helped us to understand how rubber in Tripura has performed and its potential for future expansion. o The maps used in the study are the standard outline maps available in the market. Plotting of different sites has been made with reference to the list of revenue villages provided by the Department of Land Settlement, Govt. of Tripura. Limitations o The dearth of reliable statistics on tapping area is in itself a major limitation. Lack of systematic maintenance of data has been a constraint in computation of data. o The major part of the study is dependent on information provided by secondary sources, i.e., different agencies. Field level testing and primary survey would have been more effective in identifying the problems. o The TTADC office could not provide relevant data, so estimation on total area has been made, and the district and subdivision classification of area has been done on the basis of whatever data could be extracted. Analysis The Beginning State Forest Department had introduced rubber trees in as early as 1963 in the form of trial plantations in localities like Patichhari and Manu along with some other successive exploratory surveys.The results of the trial plantations were found encouraging and naturally extension of rubber plantations under government supervision had a fillip. Being a new commercial crop hitherto unknown in Tripura rubber was subjected to different tests from within the and outside the society and was often being misunderstood and rejected. However, amends were made at the earliest and the importance and the benefits were realised. It is important to note that the variability in the agro climatic conditions of Tripura from that of the traditional zone do not have serious deleterious effect that would hamper the overall growth and yield of rubber in Tripura. By 1971-72, with the commencement of tapping and processing, Tripura was on the verge of a new age of development. The state government seemed to have a new opportunity in their hands to usher in greater sources of revenue, income and welfare. Extension of plantation began at an increasing rate but mostly in the public sector. A rubber plantation apart from being a source of revenue also act as an employment-generating source, a means of resettlement of the landless and in addition fosters soil conservation. Rubber plantations and cultivation were considered as a viable means of economic development and the state government formed the
  • 4. Tripura Rubber Mission- Technical Bulletin 1, 2006 Tripura Forest Development and Plantation Corporation (TFDPC) in1976-77. The corporation was entrusted with the management and operational activity of the existing plantations under the aegis of the state forest department. The TFDPC has under its wing more than 10000 ha of rubber plantation, spread all over the state. The Take- Off The potential of rubber plantations in Tripura being well identified by the mid 1970s saw the Rubber Board set up its regional office in 1979 at Agartala. The extension activity of the Rubber Board in saw plantations set up through private initiatives. The ongoing industrialisation, mechanisation and economic development in the country had warranted for new areas for rubber plantation. The introduction of cash subsidy as an incentive for new plantations by the Rubber Board in 1980 had seen a significant growth in new areas under rubber all over the rubber growing regions and Tripura was no exception. The private plantations began to increase since 1980 at a very positive rate. This scheme of financial subsidy has been instrumental in promoting rubber plantations for the public sector also. Encouraged at the success of the rehabilitation programme of the TFDPC the state government established the Tripura Rehabilitation & Plantation Corporation in 1983 with the specific objective of settlement of landless tribals for reclamation of lands under jhum cultivation. TRPC has under its aegis, 4696.75 ha of rubber plantations. The corporation helps the tribal beneficiary in setting up the plantation and as the trees mature, it procures the latex from them and sells the rubber sheets in the market. The success story of TFDPC and TRPC has encouraged private initiatives in rubber plantations within the state. Rubber plantations are considered to be a profitable economic investment for people from all sections of life. Apart from full time rubber cultivator, there are several investors in rubber plantations in Tripura. However, the state lacks very big estates though several small estates of corporate ownership do exist. Residents and corporate firms originating in other states or regions of the country do have rubber- producing farms in Tripura. Using the classification of plantations as holdings and estates by Rubber Board on the basis of contagious area above or below 20 ha sees a predominant majority of holdings in Tripura. The growth of rubber plantations in Tripura received a fillip with the introduction of the “ Tripura Block Plantation Project” in collaboration with the Rubber Board and the Department of Tribal Welfare; Govt. of Tripura in 1992-93. The project was to raise rubber plantation in 1500 ha in a span of 5 years for the settlement of 1500 tribal families. The World Bank has provided funds for this programme since 1992 in order to promote economic settlement of the tribal Jhum cultivators through rubber plantation.
  • 5. Tripura Rubber Mission- Technical Bulletin 1, 2006 The opening up of the economy following economic reforms in 1991 saw the Indian rubber economy integrate with the world market. The industrial growth received a spurt in the early 1990s and triggered off a price rise for raw NR particularly in 1994 and 1995. Several private initiatives occurred with an expectation to reap in as much as profit as possible. But the boom was short lived and prices for rubber smoked sheets dipped to very low levels. However, with the international NR sector posing a revival since 2001, there has been renewed interest in rubber plantations particularly in the private sector and there has been much higher growth rates of expansion of rubber plantations in the state since 2003. The public sector units however, continued to pursue their goals of increasing plantation area. Rather the state government has brought in two more agencies to implement rubber plantations- the office of the Tripura Tribal Autonomous District Council and the office of the Sub-divisional magistrates from 1998. Schemes for resettlement of weaker sections of the society through rubber plantations have been one of the major developmental programmes of the state government. The Present Scenario The total area under rubber plantations in Tripura is around 31000 hectares; while the tappable area as per Rubber Board estimates is 17000 hectares. The total production in the state is estimated around 17000 tonnes thus resulting in a yield rate of 1000 kgs/ha (approx). The major agencies for rubber plantation and extension are- the TFDPC, the TRPC, the office of the TTADC, the office of the SDM, the Jt. RPC Rubber Board and the private sector individuals and farms. Rubber Plantations are widely dispersed over all the four districts of the state. The total area (provisional) under different agencies operating in the rubber sector as on 31st March 2006 are- Agency Total Area (Hectares) TFDPC 10744* TRPC 4697^ Jt. RPC 3090** TTADC 1521*^ SDM/SDO 541** Private 11080** Sector Total 31673 Source- Computed (Rounded off) Notes- * TFDPC office, ^ TRPC office, ** Rubber Board *^ estimated
  • 6. Tripura Rubber Mission- Technical Bulletin 1, 2006 Share of total area under different agencies TFDPC 34% TRPC 15% Jt. RPC 10% TTADC 5% SDM /SDO 2% PRIVATE 34% The largest district in terms of area under rubber plantations is the West Tripura district followed by the South Tripura District. The North Tripura district and the Dhalai district follow at the third and fourth position. Total Area Share District (ha) (%) West 14244 45 Tripura South 10503 33 Tripura North 5134 16 Tripura Dhalai 1792 6 Source- Computed; Notes- Figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding off Bishalgarh subdivision is credited with the maximum area under rubber plantations, 5127.15 ha. In the south Tripura district, the newly formed Santirbazar subdivision has the maximum area, 3220.3 ha followed by Belonia with 1924.67 ha. Interestingly, as on 31st March 2006, Belonia was the leader, the new subdivision has been curved out of its territory. Kailasahar sub division, 2291.72 ha, leads over others in the North Tripura district while it is Kamalpur ranking first in the Dhalai district with 802.33 ha of rubber plantations. Rubber plantations are found in all the subdivisions of the state except Gandacharra in Dhalai district. Though very surprising, it is true that none of the agencies has set
  • 7. Tripura Rubber Mission- Technical Bulletin 1, 2006 up any plantation in this remote area, bereft of much economic development and opportunity. The share of different Subdivisions in total area under rubber in the state- Kailasr Kanch Sadar Bishalgarh 7% 3% 11% 17% Dharma Ambasa 5% 1% Sonamura Ganda 0% 9% L.T.V Khow 2% 7% Kamlpr Tlmura 3% 1% Udaipur Amarpur Belonia Sabroom Santibazar 6% 3% 6% 7% 10% The rank analysis of the subdivisions shows that among the top five subdivisions, three belong to the West Tripura district, while among the least coverage four subdivisions from the Dhalai district comes in the bottom five. Sub Division Total Area Rank Sadar 3412 3 Bishalgarh 5267 1 Sonamura 2813 4 Khowai 2293 9 Teliamura 459 15 Udaipur 1831 8 Belonia 2009 7 Santibazar 3313 2 Sabroom 2352 6 Amarpur 998 12 Kamalpur 802 13 Ambasa 252 16 L.T.V 738 14 Dharmanagar 1665 10 Kailasahar 2361 5 Kanchanpur 1108 11 Gandacharra 0 17 The agency wise coverage of area under rubber plantation depicts that TFDPC has the lead in the South Tripura and North Tripura
  • 8. Tripura Rubber Mission- Technical Bulletin 1, 2006 district, while in the West Tripura district the private sector is the lead unit while in Dhalai district, the TRPC is the dominant agency. AGENCIES TFDPC TRPC JT.RPC SDO TTADC PRIVATE TOTAL Subdivision Sadar 429.43 344.82 610.85 18.75 215 1793.22 3412 Bishalgarh 926.03 722.31 1502.64 19.23 140 1956.94 5267 Sonamura 1027.92 96.95 169.03 27.37 1491.57 2813 Khowai 579.3 599.43 0 146.03 557 411.04 2293 Teliamura 315.72 0 0 27.72 116 459 West 3278.4 1763.51 2282.52 239.1 912 5768.12 14244 Tripura Udaipur 79.85 94 388.59 62.99 25 1180.6 1831 Belonia 931.13 0 216.29 36.6 50 775.65 2009 Santibazar 1896.94 187.11 0 40.77 35 1153.98 3313 Sabroom 1339.68 367.02 0 92.35 80 442.71 2352 Amarpur 190.47 577.16 28.47 2.75 75 123.89 998 South 4438.07 1225.29 633.35 235.06 265 3706.83 10503 Tripura Kamalpur 0 391.42 0 48.79 362.02 802 Ambasa 29.71 158.58 0 17.9 25 20.35 252 L.T.V 92 464.6 0 0 150 31.22 738 Gandacharra 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Dhalai 121.75 1014.6 0 66.69 175 413.59 1792 Dharmanagar 1048 89.7 139 0 388.03 1665 Kailasahar 1216.9 272.84 0 0 69 801.98 2361 Kanchanpur 641.68 330.81 35.2 0 100 0.5 1108 North 2906.58 693.35 174.2 0 169 1190.51 4965 Tripura TOTAL 10744.3 4696.75 3090.07 540.85 1521 11080.05 31673 Source- Computed (Areas rounded off) TFDPC is the lead agency in rubber area in seven subdivisions- Teliamura, Belonia, Santirbazar, Sabroom, Dharmanagar, Kailasahar and Kanchanpur. The TRPC is the dominant agency for rubber plantation in five subdivisions namely, Khowai, Amarpur, Kamalpur, Ambasa and Longtrai valley. On the other hand, the private sector has the maximum area in the subdivisions of Sadar, Bishalgarh, Sonamura and Udaipur. In terms of total area however we find private sector marginally ahead of the TFDPC in the state and also in terms of coverage in the subdivisions. Since there are no plantations in the Gandacharra subdivision it is obvious that the different agencies will have a blank. However, there are private initiatives in all other
  • 9. Tripura Rubber Mission- Technical Bulletin 1, 2006 subdivision though the range of coverage among them varies for various economic and non-economic factors. An interesting observation from the above table is that though there are more than 1000 ha of rubber plantation in the Kanchanpur subdivision the share of the private sector is that of a microscopic minority. Only, 0.5 ha of rubber plantation has been set up by a private sector initiative. However, one must understand that setting up plantations by different agencies at different subdivisions is subject to certain constraints arising out of land availability and identification of beneficiary. Agency wise performance The different agencies involved in production and extension of rubber in Tripura have all been increasing their area under operation for successive years. The adjacent table shows the new area brought under rubber plantation since 1980. TFDPC TRPC SDM/SDO PRIVATE JT.RPC TTADC TOTAL Upto1979 1942.16 23.09 1965.25 1980 708.12 51.14 759.26 1981 718.6 135.52 854.12 1982 724.93 349.94 1074.87 1983 516.25 291.45 807.7 1984 671.87 75 223.77 970.64 1985 535.96 77.1 193.02 806.08 1986 903.99 224.9 354.32 1483.21 1987 950.8 344.7 163.85 1459.35 1988 477.37 268.9 245.87 992.14 1989 885.56 365.7 313.27 1564.53 1990 88.4 83.1 259.05 430.55 1991 131.5 30.95 240 402.45 1992 130.65 182.7 305.03 122.22 767.6 1993 123.85 123.8 321.31 267.55 836.51 1994 137.1 213.2 480.55 189.26 1020.11 1995 267.98 181.02 802.18 399.44 1650.62 1996 89.8 91.02 35.46 964.92 152.6 1333.8 1997 59.06 211.33 1037.22 256.61 165 1729.22 1998 28 62.92 58.38 711.63 449.88 741 2051.81 1999 53.5 181.65 41.25 432.07 171.17 340 1219.64 2000 140 274.4 109.34 583.27 145.69 1252.7 2001 30 375.33 37.02 514.9 402.47 75 1434.72 2002 140.65 306.99 57.48 261.49 110.2 876.81 2003 164.8 404.61 100.75 323.57 114.76 200 130808.49 2004 99.25 249.81 56.84 615.83 176.19 1197.92 2005 24.15 367.62 44.73 881.56 132.03 1450.09 TOTAL 10744 4697 541 11080 3090 1521 31673 Source- Computed (Rounded Off)
  • 10. Tripura Rubber Mission- Technical Bulletin 1, 2006 The maximum increase in area occurred in 1995, 1650.2 hectares. However, that included contribution from all agencies. The private sector is more driven by profit motive and the highest growth in absolute terms occurred in 1997 for the private sectors. Incidentally, price of RSS during 1995 and 1996 had increased to about Rs. 60.00 per kg that provided a huge profit and attracted interest from new planters. But the consequent depression saw a declined interest from the common people. On the other hand the state sponsored rehabilitation programmes under the aegis of other agencies are more part of the developmental programme and comparatively less related to the market initiatives. TFDPC had been the lead agency in the state for expansion of rubber till 1989 but, subsequently, their share in the incremental change has declined. Presently, the corporation remains the lead agency in the South Tripura and North Tripura district. The corporation has raised rubber plantation on commercial basis over an area of 7542.90 ha till March 2006. Apart from this, another 2784 ha of rubber plantation were raised for rehabilitation of the tribal jhum cultivators and settlement of Schedule castes and other socially backward classes. The corporation has also inherited 418.66 ha of rubber plantations raised by the state forest department during the period 1963 to 1975. The distribution of rubber plantations raised and maintained by TFDPC is shown in the adjoining table WEST SOUTH NORTH DHALAI STATE Self Owned 9 21 13 1 44 Beneficiary 15 11 4 3 33 Inherited 2 5 1 0 8 Dept. of Hort. 1 2 0 1 4 TTADC 1 0 0 0 1 Total 28 38 18 4 90 Source-TFDPC The first plantation under the TFDPC was initiated at Warrangbari, near Bishramgunj in the West Tripura district in 1976. The plantation at Warrangbari was the first model to explore the possibilities of resettlement of landless tribal jhum cultivators through rubber plantations. The success achieved induced the state government to adopt rubber plantations as a viable economic activity for the tribal populations. However, there has been no uniform trend in the growth of new area and after 1989 the private sector has had the maximum share in the new area except for 2002 and 2003, when TRPC had emerged as the lead agency in the state. Such a situation was completely led by the market reaction. The worldwide depression had affected the Indian rubber sector also and Tripura could not be insulated against the market fluctuations. The annual increment in rubber plantation by the private individuals came down to levels prior
  • 11. Tripura Rubber Mission- Technical Bulletin 1, 2006 to 1994. The most significant observation during the last 10 years, i.e. 1996-2005, the public sector has taken up the extension activity during the years of depression. The efforts at rehabilitation of land less tribals and people from other weaker section have received thrust under the schemes sponsored by the Department of Rural Development and the Department of Tribal Welfare. 1200 1000 800 600 400 200 0 1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 TFDPC TRPC SDM/SDO PRIVATE Jt.RPC TTADC TRPC is actively engaged in raising rubber plantations for the rehabilitation of the landless tribals in fourteen subdivisions. No. of location No. of Beneficiaries Sadar 3 277 Bishalgarh 9 563 Sonamura 3 95 Khowai 5 429 Teliamura 0 0 West Tripura 19 1364 Udaipur 4 73 Belonia 0 0 Santibazar 5 182 Sabroom 4 235 Amarpur 7 454 South Tripura 20 944 Kamalpur 3 301 Ambasa 4 122 L.T.V 7 397 Gandacharra 0 0 Dhalai 14 820 Dharmanagar 1 55 Kailasahar 4 258 Kanchanpur 5 323 North Tripura 10 636 TOTAL 63 3764 Source- TRPC
  • 12. Tripura Rubber Mission- Technical Bulletin 1, 2006 The average size of units for beneficiaries is 1.25 ha. However, there are inter-regional variations in the farm size within the state itself. The West and the South district shows an average farm size of 1.29 ha, while the Dhalai district has an average farm size of 1.23 ha but the North Tripura district has only 1.09 ha. Such variation in farm size will obviously result in differential income. TRPC is the apex agency for raising rubber plantation in the Dhalai district and the dominance is exhibited by the fact that 62.76 percent of the plantations have been raised by it. The year-wise area of rubber plantation under occupation of different agencies in Tripura shows the declining share of TFDPC over the years. TFDPC has been the lead agency in Tripura from the beginning and it was only in 2005 that the private sector has overtaken them by a small margin, 150 hectares approximately. Agency Year TFDPC TRPC SDM/SDOJt. RPC ADC PRIVATE TOTAL Upto1979 1942.16 23.09 1965.25 1980 2650.28 74.23 2724.51 1981 3368.88 209.75 3578.63 1982 4093.81 559.69 4653.5 1983 4610.06 851.14 5461.2 1984 5281.93 75 1074.91 6431.84 1985 5817.89 152.1 1267.93 7237.92 1986 6721.88 377 1622.25 8721.13 1987 7672.68 721.7 1786.110180.48 1988 8150.05 990.6 2031.9711172.62 1989 9035.61 1356.3 2345.2412737.15 1990 9124.01 1439.4 2604.29 13167.7 1991 9255.51 1470.35 2844.2913570.15 1992 9386.16 1653.05 122.22 3149.3214310.75 1993 9510.01 1776.85 389.77 3470.6315147.26 1994 9647.11 1990.05 579.03 3951.1816167.37 1995 9915.09 2171.07 978.47 4753.3617817.99 1996 10004.89 2262.09 35.46 1131.07 5718.2819151.79 1997 10063.95 2473.42 35.46 1387.68 165 6755.520881.01 1998 10091.95 2536.34 93.84 1837.56 906 7467.1322932.82 1999 10145.45 2717.99 135.09 2008.73 1246 7899.224152.46 2000 10285.45 2992.39 244.43 2154.42 1246 8482.4725405.16 2001 10315.45 3367.72 281.45 2556.89 1321 8997.3726839.88 2002 10456.1 3674.71 338.93 2667.09 1321 9258.8627716.69 2003 10620.9 4079.32 439.68 2781.85 1521 9582.4329025.18 2004 10720.15 4329.13 496.52 2958.04 1521 10198.26 30223.1 2005 10744.3 4696.75 541.25 3090.07 1521 11079.8231673.19 Source- Computed
  • 13. Tripura Rubber Mission- Technical Bulletin 1, 2006 The rubber plantations raised under the Tripura Block Plantation Project has been classified under the head of Jt. RPC. The 1st phase of the scheme was successful in getting an extension for an additional five years with funding from the World Bank. The growth in area under this agency has slowed down since 2002. Presently, we find 50 places or centres having Block plantation with 36 in the West Tripura district, 10 in the south Tripura district and 4 plantations in the North Tripura district. The growth of the area raised by the Sub divisional magistrates in the last ten years of existence has increased by more than 15 times. This agency has raised rubber plantation in 12 subdivisions of three districts. There has been no plantation under this agency in the three subdivisions of North Tripura district. The maximum cover raised by this agency is 146.03 hectares in Khowai. The rubber plantations raised by this agency also attempts to resettle poor people from the scheduled caste category. The growth of rubber plantation in Tripura has been varied owing to several economic and non-economic factors. The rubber tree takes around six to seven years to mature and naturally production begins only after that. Therefore in the total area in the ‘n’th year should be the tappable area in the ‘n+7’th year. In other word we say, there should be a close similarity between the total areas under plantation in 1990 to the tappable area of 1997. However, several factors like longer gestation period, damage to existing plants, insurgency and terrorism have kept the tappable area at levels below that expected. Moreover changes at the policy levels have also played a big factor in the growth process of the implementing agencies of rubber plantation. It is to be remembered that rubber in Tripura is grown to serve twin goals of economic development of the weaker section and as a commercial crop providing a viable economic activity. It should be noted that the agencies that raise rubber plantations as part of rehabilitation programme of the weaker sections of the society transfer the ownership rights to the beneficiaries as the trees mature. The future transfer rights are restricted so that the tribals do not become landless again. The existing land rights in the state also restrict transfer of ownership from tribals to non-tribals. The result is increasing cost of available land and real estates. The booming price in the rubber market has added fuel to it. Land price has increased manifold during the previous years. Such a scenario had an impact on the rubber plantation sector also. There have been several cases where the tribal owner of the land has leased out his property to non- tribals at a premium in the South Tripura district. The expansion of rubber plantation though did not witness growth of rubber based industries, but rubber as a trade item has increased manifold. There are more than 123 licensed rubber dealers and sub dealers in the state. Of late, a rubber-based industry has come up in Sadar near Agartala that will certainly be a boost to this sector.
  • 14. Tripura Rubber Mission- Technical Bulletin 1, 2006 Growth Profile Tripura we know over the years have emerged as the 2nd largest state under rubber plantation in the country and also leads among the Northeastern states. The growth in area has been achieved by all the agencies that raise plantations. Table- Trend growth rate of area under rubber in Tripura Period TFDPC TRPC SDM/SDO Jt. RPC TTADC Private Total 1980-2005 4.5 15.32* 38.40** 22.12*** 19.91*^ 16.18 8.82 1981-1990 11.95 66.09* 26.37 15.57 1991-2000 1.17 7.77 68.17** 37.38*** 89.34*^ 14.22 6.97 2001-2005 1.07 8.65 18.41 4.94 4.32 5.37 4.29 Notes- ‘*’ indicates series beginning from 1984, ‘**’ indicates series beginning from 1996 & ‘***’ indicates series beginning from 1992,’*^’ indicates series beginning from 1997 We find the linear equation Yt= a + b (t), where ‘Y’ is total area and ‘t’ is time being the best fit to describe the growth process of area under rubber in the state 35000 y = 1149.5x - 424.21 30000 2 R = 0.9912 25000 20000 15000 10000 5000 0 9 81 83 85 87 89 91 93 95 97 99 01 03 05 97 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 20 20 20 o1 pt U Notes- ‘blue’ – actual, ‘white’ –linear trend The trend growth rate for area under rubber has slowed down after the 1990s. The growth had been most impressive during the decade of the 1980s and the least rates have been for the first five years of the present century, 2001-2005.The high growth rates during the 1980s has been mainly because rubber was a new crop and the availability of virgin lands. It is to be noted that the landscape of Tripura provides for large number of low highlands, called ‘tilla’ in local parlance, which are otherwise not used for agriculture and are often left uncultivated and barren. It is this section of tilla land where rubber has been initiated. These lands would in other case be left unused and therefore are adding value to the state GDP. The cash subsidy from Rubber Board has also acted as an incentive for increase in area in the early days. However, the major credit for achieving such high rates in expansion of rubber plantation should go to the implementing agencies for carrying out the extension activities in right earnest.
  • 15. Tripura Rubber Mission- Technical Bulletin 1, 2006 Agency Growth The slowdown has been the maximum for TFDPC, owing to its reduced role in the resettlement programmes of the state government. Also added to it is the shortage of available land for TFDPC to expand its own capacity. The slow down in the growth rate in the area under TFDPC is well evident in the above diagram as we find a break since 1989. The logarithmic equation Y= a + b {ln (t)} is a better fit then the linear model as the value of R2 depicts. 14000 12000 10000 R2 = 0.956 8000 2 6000 R = 0.8371 4000 2000 0 9 81 83 85 87 89 91 93 95 97 99 01 03 05 97 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 20 20 20 t o1 Up Notes- ‘blue’ – actual, ‘white’ – logarithmic trend & ‘green’ - linear trend. The growth in area of plantations raised by TRPC has been following a linear trend. The high value of R2 is in support of the statement. There have been occasional divergence between the actual and the estimated, but more or less they have been moving in tandem. TRPC has been specially instituted for extension of rubber plantations and the growth rate achieved by the corporation has naturally been higher than the state as a whole.The trend rate of growth for the agency has been the most during the 1980s, but such a rate is more due to the lower base figures. However, there have been reports of damage and 5000 4000 R2 = 0.9766 3000 2000 1000 0 81 83 85 87 89 91 93 95 97 99 9 97 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 to 1 Up comparatively less productivity in the units raised by TRPC. Notes- ‘blue’ – actual, ‘white’ –linear trend The most impressive growth rates have been for the area or plantation under the Sub-divisional magistrates and under Tripura Tribal Autonomous District Council because the total period under consideration has been the least. But, the existing conditions of the plantations are to be verified. The Block Rubber Plantation programme initiated in 1992 under the financial aid of the World
  • 16. Tripura Rubber Mission- Technical Bulletin 1, 2006 Bank and technical supervision of the Rubber Board has had a stupendous growth rate for the first period as we have seen above, but it has slowed down in the last period under consideration. The trend growth rate for the private sector has been impressive and has been the highest for the entire period. The high growth rate is an indication of the acceptance of rubber as a viable economic activity across all areas of the state. The relative higher rate of profit of rubber as a plantation crop has been the motivator for such an occurrence. Economics The income from the plantation is basically a function of price and yield. The average price ratio of rubber in Tripura is 0.94 with respect to the national levels. But the yield rates between our state and the traditional region vary. The Rubber Board estimates the average yield for Tripura to be around 1000 kgs per hectare, which is much lesser than then the national average. In order to find out the economic viability of rubber in Tripura a primary survey was conducted in two centres of rubber production operating under TRPC- I) Bangshibari and 2) Herma. Both these centres are located in the Bishalgarh subdivision and are close to Bishramgunj on the NH 44. A total of 30 (thirty) farmers were interviewed on the basis of a well-structured schedule. The objective of the schedule was to find out the present economic, social and cultural condition of the farmers and also identify the problems, if any, that they suffer from. The survey was done on two successive days in the last week of August 2006. The data collected from the surveys refer to the production levels of July 2006. The highlights are given in the adjacent table Respondents (Total) 30 Respondents 18 (Bangshibari) Respondents (Herma) 12 1162 Av. Yield (Total) kgs/ha 1086 Av. Yield (Bangshibari) kgs/ha 1264 Av, Yield (Herma) kgs/ha 2014 Yield (Maximum) kgs/ha Yield (Minimum) 301kgs/ha Rubber plantations have two distinct stages in its economic life- the immature phase and the mature phase. Production is the parameter used for this distinction. The gestation period for a rubber tree is 7 years. The tree is ready for tapping at reaching the desired girth level. The first phase is the age of all expenses and no return, while the second phase has both expenditures and income. Naturally, this
  • 17. Tripura Rubber Mission- Technical Bulletin 1, 2006 economic activity becomes worthwhile only when the returns accruing after the 7th year is sufficient enough to compensate the expenditures incurred in the previous periods. The expenditures in the rubber plantations can be classified in two broad heads- Material Cost and Labour Cost. The establishment cost of rubber plantation in current prices is approximately Rs. 85,000 per hectare spread over a period of seven years. The expenditures in the first year are the maximum, around 37 percent. The shares of cost in the subsequent years are in the range as follows - 2nd year -17%, 3rd year -14%, 4th year- 11%, 5th year - 8 %, 6th year -7 %, & in the 7th year -6 %. (Bhowmik. I., 2006 personal communication). Labour expenditure during the mature phase is the largest head of account. The approximate expenditures on tapping and other labour activities are around Rs. 25000 per ha per annum. The material cost is about Rs. 10000 per hectare. On the other hand, the yield rate during the 8th year is around 800kgs per hectare. The yield rate shows an increasing trend till the 15th year, which is around 1400 kg. The productivity curve of rubber plantations has an inverted ‘U’ shape and the by the 28th year, the yield rates start declining sharply. Considering the price of rubber being Rs. 60 per kg along with a discount rate of 6 percent, the economic indicators, namely Benefit Cost ratio, Internal Rate of Return and Net Present value all shows very encouraging results. Indicators Results IRR 19% NPV Rs.149680 BC Ratio 2.07 Payback 10.42 period years However the calculation made on the economic aspect are provisional and subject to change after field verification. Rubber plantations therefore are economically viable and provide substantial income to the planters. The business income from one hectare of rubber plantation during the mature phases is approximately Rs. 28000 per annum. In Tripura, the rehabilitation schemes for landless people are so designed that the beneficiary himself works as the owner operator. Therefore, such small farm- holders enjoy an additional income with themselves, the labour cost amounting to Rs. 25000.00 per annum (approx). The land size under rubber plantation varies from 1 ha to 2.4 ha between the beneficiaries and the production also varies as is evident by the range of the yield. Naturally, even though as beneficiaries of a particular centre they are clubbed together for various activities and function, there are sizeable differences in the income levels of the farmers. The difference in income is aptly reflected in the living standards and household possession of valuables and assets.
  • 18. Tripura Rubber Mission- Technical Bulletin 1, 2006 Profit is a function of price and for rubber it is no exception. The rubber prices have been reaching unprecedented levels in the last two years. High rates of return will ultimately lead to increase in input cost. But prices being linked to international market can come down very sharply. In such a scenario, the profitability from plantations will decline. Problems But for Tripura, the profitability can be raised with other non- price factors also. Increasing productivity is an effort to be pursued at the micro (farm) level. The yield rates in Tripura are much lower than the national average and it is the most serious drawback of the rubber sector in the state. Problems in the rubber plantations of Tripura are numerous and can be categorised under three heads- (i) climatic; (ii) technological/economic; and (iii) social political and institutional (SPI) Climatic o Erratic Rainfall- Rubber is a rain fed crop and Tripura does fall in the zone of maximum rains. But the past few years have witnessed no uniformity in the pattern of rains in the state. At times there are massive down pour while longer periods pass without any trace of rain. This year itself there was almost a gap of 6 months between rains. Moreover, excessive rainfalls reduce the number of tapping days that does affect the productivity and production. o Norwesters and cyclones often create havoc at the rubber plantations. Matured trees, yielding high latex often gets blown away and fell to the ground. The insurance cover against such unfortunate events of damage and destructions appear to be very paltry. o The rubber tree is basically a tropical tree while Tripura belongs to the sub-tropical region. Naturally the rubber tree is subjected to major stress factor accruing to this region like low temperature in winter (below 50C) and high summer temperature (above 350). Technological/ Economic o The seven-year gestation period often turns out to be too long. Many of the small farmers are apprehensive about an alternative vocation during the first seven years. o The fluctuation in price has an impact on the cultural practices adopted by the farmers. At times of lower price the small and marginal farmer often skip the necessary dose of fertilizer. At high prices, there is always a fear of excess supply (Bhowmik. I., 2006 personal communication). o Paucity of reliable data is a problem. The future planning and policy prescriptions turn out to be erroneous in case of using fictitious data.
  • 19. Tripura Rubber Mission- Technical Bulletin 1, 2006 o Rubber farmers face an oligopsony, whereby they turn out to be price takers (Bhowmik. I., 2006 personal communication). Social, Political & Institutional o Labour problems in plantations arise because of very low wage differentials between the skilled labour and the non-skilled labour. Moreover, the number of trained rubber tapper in the state is very limited. o Lack of awareness of the rubber farmers is often the cause of poor productivity. Most of the tribal farmers are not educated and are thus not able to follow the instructions in right earnest. o The relatively high profitability of rubber has seen the entry of many spurious investors in the rural areas who supply poor quality plantings from their nursery. These substandard varieties can ruin the progress achieved (Bhowmik. I., 2006 personal communication). o The law and order situation in the state has gone through numerous tumultuous times in terms of loss of life and property. The TFDPC has lost almost 3000 hectares due to insurgency. o Field reports indicate of some private plantations have been raised at forestlands and at sites not designated in the permit. It is tough for the Rubber Board and other implementing agencies to correctly ascertain the exact location of the plot (Bhowmik. I., 2006 personal communication). Plantations in the forestlands are illegal and warrant punitive action. Such efforts are wastage of time and resources. Prospects. o The world rubber economy is growing at a faster rate with demand outstripping supply thereby causing a sharp increase in prices for RSS. Though this price hike is for the short run, following consecutive draughts in Thailand, prices trends suggest it to remain stable in the range of Rs. 60.00 to Rs. 90.00 for the next two years. o The growth in the rubber sector contributes to the state economy and increasing the land base will augment the state economy further. We have seen that rubber is a highly profitable venture even at conservative estimates. Naturally, with prices remaining at such high levels the income of the state stands to increase at greater level. o Though there exists a lag in the matured area when studied in respect to the total area, the tappable area in Tripura by 2009- 10 is estimated to be around 27000 ha. Investors and entrepreneurs of the state can also go for production of rubber based industrial goods. Availability of raw material will be an incentive.
  • 20. Tripura Rubber Mission- Technical Bulletin 1, 2006 o The most encouraging fact about Rubber in Tripura is the impressive growth rate for yield. Increases in yield will result in greater production and higher profits (Bhowmik. I., 2006 personal communication). o Tripura has huge potential to develop rubber as its base for economic development. The missionary attitude adopted by the leading agencies to expand its network is itself going to give boost to the rubber sector. o The target to increase existing area by more than 7000 hectares in the next three years is very encouraging. The plan to plant rubber trees in the Indo- Bangladesh border aggregating to 3874 hectares will be a major contributing factor to the economic development of those areas. Similarly, enabling plantation along the highways and on the degraded forestlands will provide the land resources to TFDPC, whose expansion had slowed down mainly due to land crisis. o India has started exporting rubber sheets in sizeable quantity since 2002-03 and Tripura has played a small part in exports to Bangladesh in the past. Increased production provides greater opportunity to avail this alternative and earn foreign exchange. o Facilitating cargo movement by using the Chittagong port will cut down on transport cost for the producers who sell their product to the mainland rubber goods industries. o The setting up of a rubber based industrial unit on 14th August 2006 has been an incentive for producers of rubber. Moreover, increasing the total volume of production will further attract investor from other states. With rubber goods manufacturing units being initiated, the plantation owners can be comparatively assured of a higher farm gate price. Suggestions o At the macro level, production can be increased only either by expansion of area and increase in productivity or both. The Rubber Mission has initiated the action plan for expansion of area and the targets for different implementing agencies are very impressive. If achieved, Tripura’s rubber economy is poised for high growth that will substantiate the overall economy of the state by a great extent. o Increases in yield are an absolute necessity. Yield is dependent on several factors like – nature and age of the tree (clone), efficiency of the tapper, adaptation of cultural practice, etc. o Trained tappers should be employed. The dearth of trained tappers indicates the urgent need for training programmes. The Tripura Rubber Mission has already taken up initiatives for such training programmes. But the frequency of such programmes has to be increased.
  • 21. Tripura Rubber Mission- Technical Bulletin 1, 2006 o A database of rubber plantation and planters should be prepared on the census method, so that discrepancies arising out of use of secondary data are avoided. Tripura Rubber Mission with the support from the State Government, Rubber Board and the Directorate of Census Operations may undertake such an exploration. The members of different Rubber Producers Society along with unemployed tribal youths from the rubber growing villages may be employed for data collection. o Field level exploratory surveys should be undertaken to identify the problems faced by the rubber farmer. o The Tripura Rubber Mission should undertake an awareness campaign on the ecological contribution of rubber tree. There have been certain vested interest groups who blame rubber plantations for the increasing average temperature in the state for the last few years. Advertisements on the local daily newspaper informing the ecological benefits accruing from rubber plantation may be published. o Identification of plantations in the forestland as well as punitive active action against the offender is necessary. But slashing down the existing trees means greater loss to the economy and the ecology. Forest laws are rigid yet efforts can be made to settle down the issue by imposing fines and penalties. In extreme cases judicial action may be taken. o Lastly but not the least, rubber plantations being a viable source of earning for an entire economic life, educated youths can be encouraged to resort to tuber plantations as a source of livelihood. Tripura Rubber Mission can initiate short-term certificate course in plantation management in collaboration with educational institutes’ like- Indian Institute of Plantation Management, Bangalore, Tripura University, Agartala and IGNOU, New Delhi.

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