Kottayam, Dec 17 (UNI) Union Minister of State for Commerce, Jairam Ramesh today said the Rubber Board has become a model for all commodity boards and the ministry was actively considering replicating the Rubber Board model in the field of other crops, including Pepper, Cardamom, Cashew, Coconut and Tea.
Inaugurating the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the extension schemes of the Rubber Board here, he said the reason for the success of the rubber board was that it could adopt an integrated approach by combining research, extension, development and marketing under the umbrella of one organisation, unlike other agencies in the agricultural sector.
The thrust area of Rubber development in the 11th five-year plan was expansion of the planted areas in the North Eastern States.
As the scope for further expansion in Kerala was negligible, the Government wanted to double the area of rubber cultivation in the North East, which was 60,000 hectare at present and 5,000 hectare each would be planted in Orissa and Karnataka.
India would overtake Japan and the US within the next ten years and would be the second largest consumer market. Therefore, it was imperative that India should increase its natural rubber production, or otherwise it would result in more imports.
The minister also emphasised the need for increasing the replanting subsidy from the present 20 per cent to 25 per cent. The replanting target for the 11th Plan was 34,000 hectare he said and asked the growers to plant the new high-yielding clones of RRII-400 series.
The minister urged the Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII) to develop drought-resistant varieties, taking into account the climate change.
The futures trading should be changed in order to make the growers and RPSs the primary beneficiaries, since at present the traders and speculators were drawing its benefits.
The minister presented the prestigious Suvarna Sanghom award for the best Rubber Producers Society (RPS) to Elavampadom of Palakkad.
State PWD Minister, Mons Joseph released the Logo of the Jubilee celebrations. P J Kurian, MP, launched the website of the RPS movement. Chairman Sajen Peter and V N Vasavan MLA, were among others, who addressed the meeting.
The jubilee celebrations would conclude with an International seminar in Koch in May, 2008, which would be preceded by conferences at Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode, Mangalore, Guwahati and Agartala.