A BRIEF NOTE RELATED TO HISTORY OF NATURAL RUBBER
As an introduction I am to state that the first founder of natural rubber plants was Mr. Christopher Colombus during 1493-1496 connected to his second voyage to tropical south America by that time he brought few balls made out of certain gum of trees which was used by the inhabitants of Haiti for playing games. Documentary evidence shows that Spanish troops in Mexico wore rubber cotted cloths to guard from rains during 1615.
Guayule shrub (Pratheenium argentatum) was the known source of rubber discovered in North America French man called Charls Dela Condamine first described Hevea brasiliensis tree as the source of rubber in 1751,as he found Amazon forest. Even though rubber from various sources where available, the wild trees of Hevea Brasiliensis in South American forest is the principle source of natural rubber in the early years. But the quantity was not sufficient to meet the increasing demand. The necessity to increase the production by extending rubber cultivation to the eastern hemisphere was recommend but until 1872 no steps having taken until Sir. Clements Markham of India office, London report the possibility of growing rubber in the east. In 1873,2000 number of seeds Hevea Brasiliensis brought to botanical “KEW GARDENS”, England and planted. Out of this 2000 seeds only dozen number of seeds germinated and six of the plants were brought to botanical garden Kolkata and there in 1873 itself. What’s happened to these seedlings is unknown. Later Robert Cross brought 1000 seedlings to “KEW GARDEN” in 1876 out of this only 3% could survive. Out of the survive seedlings a few sent to Sri Lanka which also are not survive. During June 1876 Hentry Wickhim known as the father of the rubber plantation industry in Far East , brought 70000 seeds to “KEW GARDEN” and the expenditure of procuring the seeds, fright and other expenses comes to huge financial commitment met by Indian Govt. That shows the initial expenditure to establish para rubber plantations worldwide is incurred to our nation.
The history of rubber mentioned because nobody taken care or thinking the huge task and expense under taken by India govt and hence I feel the responsibility to explain the same to all concerned now countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, many of the African states, China, Srilanka, South-North Americas, Vietnam etc established large scale rubber plantations on commercial bases. Even though there is shortage of natural rubber in world requirement. In India the attempt to plant rubber was during 1879 in Nilambur teak plantation with 28 number of Heavia plants received from Ceylon. In 1886 some more planting materials brought from Srilanka and planted in Calicut and poonoor. The commercial plantation the rubber was started by European planters in the name of “Periyar Syndicate during 1902 at Thattekadu near Aluvay. Afterwards in 1904 plantations are established at Yendayar and Mundakkayam. From 1905-1907 K.E.Necol and E.G Windle both are Europeans planted 1100 acres at Pallappally and Puthukadu areas under Cochin state. By 1910 Mundakkayam became a leading centre of rubber plantation in India with an area of 10000 acres. Following years U.P.A.S.I taken keen interest in rubber cultivation and research on various aspects helped in further. Developments of commercial plantations. Leading Malayalam news journal “Malayala Manorama” played important role in encouraging rubber plantations in India. The first local joined stock company to plant rubber was started in 1910 in name Malankara Rubber and Produce Company ltd. Simultaneously local farmers also enter the field of rubber cultivation. Now industry spread almost all over Kerala state, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Congon and Goa and NEFA sector. Out of the whole 95% of the plantations is in Kerala state.
Even though rubber plantation industry under taken the highest role of day today life, for the past 2-3 years the industry is ignore by the authorities in sinking stage. A very big part of our economy based income from rubber cultivation and gulf money. Now the both sectors facing sickness stage due to fall of oil and rubber price of natural rubber. During 2013 per kilogram prize reached Rs.250,but unfortunately enormous importing of natural and synthetic rubber, used tyre the price fall come down up to below rupees 100 per kilogram. To overcome the oil crisis gulf countries taking steps for the hike in oil price but reasonable steps are not seen taken in price hike of natural rubber. Now a days a tendency is noticed that a hike of per kilogram in Bangkok market from where the raw rubber prize is regulating. Now a days a tendency is noticed that overall production of natural rubber per year coming down as a result of weather change in world wide. This will reflect huge shortage in requirement of natural rubber and it may cause hike of prize in market. Instead of leaving the industry to the management of nature and climate we must take possible steps to increase production and prize of natural rubber.
RUBBER GROWING REGIONS IN INDIA
Kanyakumari region. Trivandrum, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alleppey, Kottayam, Idukki, Ernakulam, Trichur, part of Palghat, Wayanad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur, part of Kasaragodu, Andaman and Nicobar region, Konkan and Goa region and non traditional areas such as AP, Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland.
Rubber Growing Soils in India
Laterite and lateritic soil, Red soil, Alluvial Soil and forest soil.
DISEASE AND NUTRITION
- Leaf and shoot disease
- Abnormal leaf fall disease (phytophthora)
- Powdery mildew (oidium heveae)
- Corynespora leaf spot
- Birds eye spot.
- Secondary leaf fall.
- Thread blight.
- South American leaf blight.
- Shoot rot.
These all diseases can be brought under control by adopting timely control measures.
- Pink disease (Corticium salmonicolor)
- Black stripe.
- Patch canker.
- Mouldy rot.
- Dry rot.
- Brown bast due to intensity of tapping.
In light of my vast experience in the plantation industry more than 5 and half decades certain suggestions are introducing here under to increase production and market prize.
- Present production average per hector/year is 1700 kilograms. By adopting latest technology and vegetative propagation, productivity can be increased to 2500 kilogram per hector/year.
- Our present requirement of natural rubber is about 12 lakh M.ton where the production now a days comes about 8 lakhs M.ton only
- Every year the requirement will be increasing
- It is a fact the price fall is a worldwide phenomena depends to so many factors but we can keep up stability in price up to a certain extend by curtail importing of rubbers in different types.
- Even though 95% of natural rubber production from Kerala state only about 10% of the same is utilizing for production of rubber based goods in the state
- More rubber goods manufacturing units may be started with in the state to create more employment and price stability.
- Rubberized bitumen units may consume a good quantity of production and such a way quality oriented roads can be constructed and it may reduce the road maintenance cost to a great extend.
- The main criteria to fix price of rubber depends to the quality in grade wise. The marketable form of natural rubber;-
- R.S.S from field latex
- C.F latex from ammoniated latex
- Crumb rubber from coagulated latex or scrap rubber
- P.L.C grades from scrap and tree lace
Stimulation with good quality stimulant in the apt time will enable to increase production. Rubber board recommended this application with proper interval.
Fertilizers in common use are
NPK 10: 10:4: 1.5
NPK 10: 10: 10.
NPK 12: 12: 12. These are depends age, nature of soil terrain and test report.