Rubber Industry

Rubber Industry

The term "Natural Rubber" describes elastomers produced naturally. Natural rubber's main component is latex, a milky white liquid that drips from the bark of numerous tropical and subtropical plants.

Brazil, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka produce the majority of the world's latex rubber. The chemical compound isoprene (2-methyl-1, 3-butadiene), also known as cis-1, 4-polyisoprene, is polymerized to create it. To put it simply, they are made by forming a long, twisted chain by loosely fusing the isoprene monomers. The first genetically altered rubber plant was created by the Rubber Research Institute specifically for this location, and it was planted in Assam where it is anticipated to thrive in the climatic conditions of the mountainous northeastern region.

India's Consumption of Rubber

  • In the fiscal year April 2021 to March 2022, India consumed 1.24 million metric tons of natural rubber. 
  • Nearly three-quarters of this total were used for general rubber goods, with the remainder going to the auto tires and tubes industry. 
  • Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, India's consumption of general rubber decreased by 16 percent in the fiscal year 2020–2021, but it increased the following year. 
  • After China, India was the second-largest consumer of natural rubber in 2021.

The process of making natural rubber:

  1. Rubber tapping: The milky white liquid latex from rubber trees is collected in a cup by making a small V-cut in the tree bark. The collected latex is filtered, washed, and then put through an acid reaction to coagulate the rubber particles.

  2. Mastication: Rubber obtained through tapping is still not suitable for use. When cold, it is very brittle and when warmed up, it becomes quite gluey. To get rid of its brittleness and overpowering smell, the rubber is allowed to move between the rollers and is pressed to make it softer and more workable. This process is repeated based on the specifications required for the rubber. During this process, additional chemical compounds are also added to the rubber to improve its quality.

  3. Calendaring: After the chemical ingredients are properly mixed, rubber is typically shaped using the calendering technique, which uses rollers. To create hollow tubes, the finished product is then fed through specific holes in an extrusion machine.

  4. Vulcanization: When the previous processes are finished, the rubber won't be strong or hard enough to be used in products like car tires. To enhance these qualities, rubber is heated at a temperature between 373K and 415K while sulphur is added to it. This process is known as vulcanization. When rubber is vulcanized, sulfur acts as a cross-linking agent, causing the rubber to cross-link and become rigid.

Governmental Programs Regarding Natural Rubber:

  • The Rubber Group Planting Scheme and the Rubber Plantation Development Scheme are two government-sponsored initiatives for rubber.
  • All foreign direct investment (FDI) goes to the production of rubber, coffee, tea, cardamom, palm, and olive oil trees.
  • Major producers on a global scale include Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, China, and India.
  • Major consumers include China, India, the United States, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
  • The government's natural rubber policy, which includes North East India and any other location besides Kerala & Tamil Nadu, balances support for traditional regions (Kerala and Tamil Nadu) with support for non-tradition.These are implemented by Rubber Board. 

Regions Outside the Norm:

  • Financial assistance
  • Initiatives for plantation expansion and growth
  • New rubber plantations in the North East are the focus of the organization Rubber Development in the North East (RDNE).

Indian National Rubber Policy

  • In order to repeal the Rubber Act of 1947 and refocus the Rubber Board on both rubber cultivation and industry, the Rubber (Promotion and Development) Bill, 2022, was introduced.
  • Numerous initiatives included in the policy support both the Natural Rubber (NR) production sector and the entire rubber industry value chain.
  • The following topics are covered: planting and replanting of new rubber, grower support, natural rubber processing and marketing, labor shortage, grower forums, external trade, center-state integrated strategies, research, training, manufacturing and export of rubber products, climate change concerns, and the carbon market.
  • The Task Force on the Rubber Industry, which was established to address issues faced by the nation's rubber growers, served as its foundation and chose both short-term and long-term solutions.

Indian Scenario:

  • The first rubber plantation in the world was built by the British in Kerala in 1902 along the banks of the Periyar River.
  • India is currently the sixth-largest producer of NR in the world (694,000 tonnes in 2017–2018), with one of the highest rates of output.
  • Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka are the states that produce the most rubber. 

Indian Rubber Board:

  • Its headquarters are in Kottayam, Kerala, and it is governed by the ministry of commerce and industry.
  • In order to advance the country's rubber industry, the Board is responsible for promoting and supporting initiatives in rubber-related research, development, extension, and training.
  • The Rubber Research Institute is governed by the Rubber Board.

Rubber is produced from the latex of a tree called Hevea brasiliensis, a commercial plantation crop. Rubber is primarily regarded as a crucial industrial raw resource and given a special position internationally for the military, national security, and industrial growth.

It is an equatorial crop that, under certain circumstances, may also be grown in tropical and sub-tropical regions.

  • Temperature: Above 25°C with a humid and rainy environment.
  • 200 cm or more of rain fell.
  • Rich, well-drained alluvial soil is the type of soil it is.
  • There must be a cheap and plentiful supply of capable workers for this plantation crop.


The rubber tree is currently in grave danger, despite being the best source of rubber that is currently available. Rubber can only be produced from plants that thrive in specific, specialized regions. To increase the sources of natural rubber and avoid the risks related to limiting production, we should look for new rubber-containing plants and improve the ones that are already known in an effort to make them more economically competitive.