KOCHI: Declining trend in the prices in the last couple of years has pushed natural rubber production in the country to the lowest level in nearly two decades at 563,000 tonnes in 2015-16 as per the data released by the Rubber Board. The last time the production fell below this was in 1996-97, when it had touched 549,425 tonnes.
The output was 645,000 tonnes in the previous year. It has dropped by 13% in a year. However, the degree of fall is less, compared to 2014-15, when it fell by 17%. Except for one year of 2009-10, the rubber production in the country had been growing steadily. It had peaked to 913,700 tonnes in 2012-13.
The rubber consumption too dipped by 3% to 987,540 tonnes from the peak level of 1,020,910 tonnes a year ago. The consumption is showing a slide after a long time. In 2014-15, the rubber consumption had grown 4% though production fell.