Rubber is obtained from latex—a milky juice obtained from various plants such as Castile and Hevea brasiliensis (para rubber). Climatic Conditions for Rubber Cultivation, Methods, and Distribution are discussed below
Climatic Conditions for Rubber Cultivation
- Para rubber is grown in India at an elevation of about 300 to 450 m on the slopes of the Western and Eastern Ghats.
- It grows well in hot and humid conditions. It is grown in regions where the temperature does not fall below 21°C. It grows well between 25°C and 35°C.
- The rubber plant requires evenly distributed high rainfall of 200–400 cm. Soil The plant requires rich, well-drained alluvial and laterite soils.
Methods of Rubber Cultivation
- Rubber is cultivated either by propagating seeds or by bud grafting.
- In the propagation of seeds, seeds are allowed to sprout in the river bed sand. After germination, they are planted in nurseries and are then transplanted in the fields.
- Bud grafting is carried out by selecting quick-growing buds. After the seedlings grow, the buds are grafted on the seedlings.
- Rubber plant needs proper caring and good manuring for growth and good yield.
- Latex is obtained from the rubber tree by the process of tapping. After cutting the bark of the rubber tree, latex is collected in containers placed below the plant.
- Tapping is not carried out in the rainy season as latex dilutes because of rainwater. It is also suspended during winter as its production is minimal at this time.
- Latex contains about 35% of dry rubber. After collecting, it is sent to a factory for processing.
- It is cleaned and mixed with acetic acid and is heated for about 24 hours.
- The spongy whitish mass is then obtained which is passed through the rollers to drain out water.
- They are then rolled into sheets and dried.
India is the fourth-largest producer of natural rubber in the world. Kerala produces about 95% of the total annual output. It is produced mainly in Kottayam, Kozhikode, Ernakulum, and Kollam districts in Kerala. It is also grown in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Tripura, Assam, Goa and Andaman, and the Nicobar Islands also produce rubber in small quantities.
Also, Read Coffee Cultivation in India