Monday, November 29, 1999

Rubber cultivation gains in popularity over traditional farming in Assam

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Guwahati, June 18 (ANI): Farmers of Assam are taking up the highly lucrative rubber cultivation on a large scale and as future prospects of the rubber industry grow brighter, the Government has come up with various schemes for entire region.Sensing the pulse of the rising demand for rubber products in markets across the country, farmers in various districts of Assam are taking up rubber cultivation on a grand scale.In Goalpara District, the Tribals have realized the benefits of rubber cultivation and are shifting their occupation towards the prospective venture.ut of the total rubber plantations in Assam, around 2,900 hectares are in Goalpara alone. Over 7,000 families are dependent on rubber cultivation for their livelihood.Their income is now averaging more than ten crore Rupees per annum.ubber cultivation provides them a golden opportunity to become self-employed."After understanding about the rubber crop, the facility the government is giving and also its benefits, we have started rubber plantation. We have seen people gaining through this cultivation," said Bairang Rabha, farmer, Goalpara District"The government is giving Rs. 22,000 per hectare of land for rubber cultivation. Everyone can't get Government jobs and we need to be self-employed. I have not gone for a training programme yet but many people are already involved in this activity," said Kameshwar Rabha, farmer, Goalpara DistrictConsidering the excellent potential of growth rubber growth in the state, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry's Rubber Board has implemented various projects such as the 'Accelerated Development of Rubber Plantation' and 'Rubber Development in the North East'."Various state governments, especially Assam and Tripura governments, have taken up the matter. They also helped in plantation of rubber. They have set up a conservation department and a plantation has been set up of more than 5,000 hectares of rubber," said M. Gopinathan, Director, Rubber board, Guwahati"India's northeast is ready for industrial power that would specialize in rubber production, treatment and rubber processing," said Abhijeet Baruah, the CII member, Assam"Actually the plantation drive has taken place in Assam just three or four years ago. So, it may take time before we may go in for rubber-based industries. Right now we are working on it," Baruah added.The high demands for rubber in the national and international markets will help the economy and improve the living standards of the farmers in the region. By Peter Alex Todd (ANI)

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