Economics of Rubber Production in the Nontraditional Area of Goalpara District in North-East India
Rising demand, steep rise in the price of synthetic rubber and reduced supply from some previously dominant rubber-producing countries have contributed to a sharp rising trend of the price of natural rubber over the last decade. The price rise has naturally induced steps for increased production. In India, the scope of further area expansion in traditional areas being limited, there has been some effort to extend rubber plantation to nontraditional areas, such as Tripura, Assam and Meghalaya in the northeastern part of the country. The present study on rubber production in Goalpara District of Assam is induced by the necessity to examine the economic viability and sustainability of the activity in such nontraditional areas. Backed by the Rubber Board, rubber production in Goalpara has recorded impressive growth. Investigation at the farm level shows that the rate of returns on investment in rubber is highly impressive under the prevailing price scenario and remains economically viable and sustainable even at much worse price scenarios. The fact that small and marginal landholders, especially from tribal communities, are the majority participants in the rubber plantation in the district, implies that this new form of economic activity has contributed significantly to economic empowerment at the grassroots. However, there are some ambiguities regarding ownership of land holdings under group growers, which need to be sorted out to avoid long-term adverse consequences on land use in the district.
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Volume (Year): VIII (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
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