1. Agriculture World

Targeted Project to Improve the Skills of OBC Rubber Tappers in Tripura

The lack of properly trained tappers, the absence of rain-guarding of rubber plants, a lack of focus on quality, and poor industry linkages, according to Ashrita Tripathi, Head-Training and Quality Assurance at the Corporation, have stifled the growth of Tripura's natural rubber sector.

Shivam Dwivedi
Rubber Tappers in Tripura
Rubber Tappers in Tripura

Rubber, Chemical, and Petrochemical Skill Development Council, in collaboration with Tripura OBC Cooperative Development Corporation, will seek to train OBC rubber growers in tapping and processing, as well as to build necessary infrastructure.

The project will introduce rain guarding, skilled tapping, and scientific latex processing, as well as train 100 rubber workers, with women accounting for more than 21% of the total to achieve gender equality.

According to Kuntal Das, Managing Director of OBC Cooperative Development Corporation, tappers' efficiency in terms of yield and production could improve with skill development and handholding support. Better market linkage, as proposed, will improve livelihoods, particularly for women, resulting in socio-economic progress.

Tripura has a large 'untapped' potential in terms of rubber production and quality. In comparison to the national average of 1,500 kg, the state produces less than 1,200 kg per hectare of the planted area.

The lack of properly trained tappers, the absence of rain-guarding of rubber plants, a lack of focus on quality, and poor industry linkages, according to Ashrita Tripathi, Head-Training and Quality Assurance at the Corporation, have stifled the growth of Tripura's natural rubber sector.

Currently, only 30-40% of the rubber produced in Tripura is in the form of quality rubber sheet that meets industry standards. A large portion is low-quality 'lot' or 'ungraded' rubber. With skill training and support, 60-70 percent of the production could be graded as sheet rubber, with the majority being RSS 3 and RSS 4.

Every year, at least 50-60 days of production are lost due to a lack of rain guarding (20 percent of tapping days). The Corporation is currently providing training to ensure that latex productivity increases to 1,500kg/hectare, increasing monthly income by 16%.

Skillful tapping will ensure yield for up to 30 years, compared to 12-18 years now. Latex processing would result in an increase in rubber sheet quality up to RSS4, earning growers an additional $40 per kg.

The overall increase in monthly income as a result of the project is estimated to be 32%. Growers are currently undergoing 240 hours of intensive skill training in the job role of Latex Harvest Technician (Tapper) over a two-month period.

Share your comments

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters