70K hectares of Rubber plantation achieved under INROAD in Northeast

70K hectares of Rubber plantation achieved under INROAD in Northeast
ATMA Chairman Mr Anshuman Singhania interacting with journalists at Guwahati

In a major boost to the rubber plantation drive in the Northeast, nearly 70000 hectares of land have been brought under natural rubber plantation under the INROAD project in 3 years. This represents one of the highest new plantations ever achieved in the Northeast in a block of 3 years. 

In tune with the spirit of 'Atmanirbhar Bharat', INROAD (Indian Natural Rubber Operations for Assisted Development), a project for supporting the development of 2 Lakh hectares of rubber plantations in North East is being undertaken under active mentoring of the Ministry of Commerce & Industry. INROAD is the first such project in the world where the natural rubber-consuming industry (tyre sector) has come forward to partner with Government agencies and fund the plantation of Natural Rubber (NR). Automotive Tyre Manufacturers Association (ATMA), the august body of tyre manufacturers in the country has collaborated with the Rubber Board of India for the project.

Over 3 crore trees have been planted so far under the project, benefitting nearly 80000 beneficiaries across 93 districts in North-eastern states. The INROAD project has led to the rejuvenation of nurseries in the region. Currently, the planting material is being procured from 81 certified nurseries.

“As against the target of 80000 ha of plantation in the first three years of the INROAD project, nearly 70000 ha or 86% of the Project target has been achieved despite post-Covid and logistics challenges. That is a testament to the commitment shown by 4 leading tyre companies in financially supporting the project and hard work of Rubber Board as the implementing agency”, said Mr Anshuman Singhania, Chairman ATMA.
“The project entails socio-economic development of resource poor populations in these states. Plantation in 2 lakh hectares will not only benefit nearly 2.5 lakh farmers and their families but comprehensive capacity building and skill training will transform the plantation sector for all time to come”, added Mr Singhania. 

The 4 Member companies of ATMA (viz. Apollo, Ceat, JK & MRF) are financial stakeholders in the project. Rubber Board front ends the project through technical support and field level connect. For the project, the industry has committed Rs 1000 crore towards a new plantation of 2 lakh hectares and another Rs 100 crore towards improved quality of Natural Rubber (NR) through best practices, skilling and training.  

During his recent visit to Guwahati, Mr Singhania visited the new plantations in Assam and Meghalaya being undertaken under the project and personally met the beneficiaries for first-hand experience. “Generating employment opportunities and livelihood security for the marginal growers and uplifting the overall socio-economic status of the community is a key objective of the project. It was gratifying to note how the project has started making a difference on the ground”, said Mr Singhania.

India’s improved global ranking in the Automotive sector augurs well for the stakeholder value chain, including the domestic tyre industry and NR sector. However, the NR demand–supply gap in India continues to be high. At present, nearly 40% of the NR requirement is met through imports. It is estimated that by 2030, the country will require about 20 Lakh tonnes of NR per year. The INROAD project will help meet some of the growing requirements within the country.