How is rubber important for the Indian economy? What conditions are required for its cultivation? Name two states where it is produced.

Rubber plays a crucial role in the Indian economy. It provides the principal raw material for manufacturing over 35000 varieties of products ranging from toy balloons to giant size tires. It provides employment to a sizeable population in its agricultural sector, and a sizeable number makes their living from processing, transporting and marketing rubber goods. Rubber plantations thus contribute substantially to economic prosperity in rubber growing areas. The Indian rubber goods manufacturing industry heavily depends on natural rubber which accounts for 80% of the total raw material.

The conditions that are required for rubber cultivation are as follows –

a) Climate – It grows well in hot and humid climates with the long dry season being unfavourable for its cultivation.

b) Soil – Loamy soils are favoured for rubber cultivation.

c) Landform – Gently rolling plain lands free from waterlogging that is below an altitude of 400 meters is ideal for rubber cultivation.

d) Demand – Presence of a ready market is a major factor for the rapid growth of natural rubber production in the country.

e) Labour – The cultivation is not labour intensive.

f) Capital – a High investment of capital is necessary due to preparation, maintenance and a long gestation period of rubber plants.

Two important states for rubber plantation include Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Kerala accounts for most of the rubber plantations in India and major districts include Kottayam, Quilon, and Kozhikode.