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Rubber Hevea brasiliensis Production

Land preparation

Rubber tree belongs to the natural order Euphorbiaceae. This tree is sturdy, tall and quick growing. It has a well-developed tap root and laterals. The leaves are trifoliate, with long petioles. Flowers are unisexual, small and fragrant. Staminate flowers are small and numerous. Pollination is by insects. Latex vessels are present in all parts of the tree except in the wood.Rubber requires a well-drained land that has a deep water table (deeper than 100 cm). land should be gentle sloppy/undulating to rolling terrains. Areas with big trees, or in second growth forest should have the under growth cleared first to enhance cutting of bigger trees. Cut into logs the large trees and remove these from the site. Cut and heap the smaller trees found along the expected rows of rubber. In cogonal areas, remove the cogon grass completely since it can hinder the growth of rubber. In hilly areas where cultivation is difficult, remove the cogon along the rubber rows only, prepare the land following contour lining and note that land terracing is highly recommended. While in flat but cultivated areas, plough the area twice before laying out.2

Climatic and soil requirements

Rubber demands in its climatic requirements. The regions lying within 100 latitudes on either side of the Equator is highly suitable for rubber cultivation. It requires a temperature ranging from 200 to 300C with a well distributed rainfall of 200-250cm over the year. It comes up in plains and also in slopes of mountainous regions ranging from 300-800m above sea level. This specific climate is available only in Kanyakumari district, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, which constitute the traditional area. It thrives well in deep well drained acidic soils of red lateritic loams or clayey loams with a pH varying from 4.5 to 6.0 1 (ideal pH is 5.5) and a well aerated soil (30%). An atmospheric humidity of 80% with moderate wind and top soil containing plenty of organic matter.


Rubber Research Institute of Malaya, Rubber Research Institute of India, kottayam and other institutes have developed clonalvarieties. These clones are broadly classified into three categories viz., primary, secondary and tertiary, based on the method adopted for the development of their mother trees. When mother trees are selected from existing seedling populations of unknown parentage and are multiplied vegetatively to give rise to the clones, they are called primary clones. When the mother trees clones and are then multiplied vegetatively, they are known as secondary clones.


1TJIR – 1Indonesian clone, Yield 930 kg/ha per year, Susceptible to phytophtora, Oidium and pink disease.
2G.T.1Indonesian clone, Yield 1360 kg/ha year, Tolerant to phytophthora, pink disease and brown bast.
3G.I.1Malayasian clone, Yield 1130 kg/ha year, Susceptible to brown bast, possess drought tolerance.
4P.B. 86Malayasian clone, Yield 1130 kg per ha/year.
Secondary clones
5PRIM-600TJIR-1 x P.B. 86Developed by Rubber Research Institute of Malaya (RRIM). Yield 1317kg/ha/year, Susceptible to phytophthora and pink disease.
6RRIM. 628TJIR.1x RRIM.527Yield 1051 kg/ha/year, Susceptible to brown bast, poor yielded during summer.
Tertiary clones
7RRIM – 703


RRIM.600xRRIM.500Yield 1725 kg/ha/year, Susceptible to brown bast and wind damage.



Propagation through seed is practised to raise seedlings for rootstock purpose or to raise polyclonal seedling progenies. Seeds normally ripen during July-September in South India. As the viability is very short (8 weeks), they are to be sown immediately raised beds of river sand of 1m width and of convenient length are formed and the seeds are sown in a single layer toughing one another and pressed firmly with the surface of the seed just visible above. Nursery may be protected from direct sun by providing a temporary shade. Regular watering is attended to maintain the moisture in the beds. Seeds start germinating within 6 to 10 days. Such raise seedling stumps or at 60x90cm or 60x120cm to raise bud wood nursery or stumped budding. Otherwise, sprouted seeds can be directly planted in the field.


The scions of a particular clone are maintained in the bud wood nursery by planting the budded stumps or by budding the clone on the seedlings in situ at nursery. Budded stump often refers to the budded plant whose scion shoot is cut very close to the budding zone leaving few dormant buds in the scion shoot. On the other hand, if the root stock is cut as a stump and budding is done, usually green budding at four to five months’ stage, then it is known as stumped budding. When the bud wood nursery plants are one-year-old, about 1m of usable bud wood can be obtained. The bud wood is cut when at least 1m of brown bark has developed. The immature green portion should be removed to a point about 1m below the terminal bud, leaving the leaf stalks in position. The bud wood may be cut off about 15cm at the base, leaving a few dormant buds to develop into bud shoots for the subsequent season. Two such sprouting shoots may be allowed for next year, from one metre shoot, 15 to 20 buds may be obtained.
Modified forked method is followed and is done during April-May, when the weather is not dry or wet. Two types of budding techniques are practiced. Brown budding is done by using buds taken from bud wood of one-year growth on to a stock plant of ten months old. Green budding on the other hand involves young green bud wood and stock. Bud wood of 6-8 weeks old is used on stock seedlings of 2 to 6 months old.
Recently, polybag plants are raised as such plants reach tapping stage quickly. Black polythene bags of 60 x 30 cm with 400 gauge are filled with topsoil alone along with 25g of rock phosphate. Green budded stumps are planted in these polybags and the scions are allowed to develop 2 to 3 whorl of leaves.1


When to Plant

Newly purchased or existing rubber trees require occasional transplanting into a new container to promote continued growth. Rubber trees will eventually outgrow their container as they mature in height and width. Growing root systems may expand to the point that they become overcrowded in their current container, which if left unaddressed may stunt the rubber tree’s growth. Top-heavy rubber trees are likely to tip over and sustain injuries. Transplant rubber trees if possible in late winter or early spring when the trees are dormant or just beginning to produce new growth to minimize shock. Plant rubber trees into containers 2 inches larger than the size of their current pots to allow adequate room for future growth. Always select containers with holes in the bottom for proper drainage. Untreated clay containers are porous and draw moisture from the soil, requiring shorter periods between wettings. Therefore, treated clay or plastic containers work better. Rubber trees grow best in rich, fertile soils that are well-draining. A good growing medium for rubber trees contains 3 parts potting soil, 1-part sand, and 1-part peat moss.



Proper planting procedures are important to minimizing transplant shock and setting the tree up for continued healthy growth. Lightly moisten the potting soil with a spray nozzle attached to a garden hose. Fill the container one-third full with soil. Tip the rubber tree on its side and carefully slide the tree’s root ball out of the pot. Prune off any broken, damaged or mushy roots with a pair of pruning shears. Spread the bottom roots gently outward and place the tree upright into the new pot. Back fill the pot with soil, tamping the medium down around the roots. Repeat this process until the soil level is even with the soil level at the top of the root ball, which should be 1 to 2 inches below the top of the pot.A planting material of a second leaf storey with fully expanded, dark green and mature top whorl leaves will be used. Planting will be done during rainy months. Plant the budding according to sizes. Bigger plants should be planted first followed by smaller ones.


  • The bottom of the bag should be completely removed first before placing in the hole.
  • The planting material is carefully placed in the hole and with the sharp knife, cut the plastic bag vertically starting from the bottom going up.
  • Pull the plastic sleeve and backfill with fertile soil.
  • In compacting the backfilled soil, it should be in a slight manner to allow air circulation within the soil particles.2


The choice of planting distance, largely depend on the topography of the area and possibility of planting intercrops.


TopographyDistance (m)No of tress
Hilly (contour sloping)9.0 x 2.5444


Flat or Undulating

8.0 x 2.5

10.0 x 2.0

8.0 x 3.0

5.0 x 4.0







Avenue system

6.0 x 3.0

7.0 x 3.0

12.0 x 2.0





Lay-out in Flat Lands

Rows of rubber are usually set at east-west orientation to obtain maximum exposure to sunlight. Steps:

  • The longest straight boundary line along the east-west orientation is made as convenient base line.
  • Measure and determine the 900 angle using the 3, 4, 5 meters on both ends of the base line.
  • Establish the distance between the rows and the rubber plants within the row following the line as indicated by the 90o.
  • Measure the distances between plants along the row in the succeeding row until the lay-out of the whole area is completed.
  • Determine the distances of rubber plants between the rows following the line as indicated by the 90o in the other end of the base line.

Lay-out on Hill Areas

Contour lining is highly recommended on hilly areas of more than 200 gradients as mentioned earlier, by marking the planting in level lines across the slope. A line of average slope is selected dividing the slope, a frame is used.

After the lay-out the contour lines along the slope, cutting of the planting terrace is done. Terraces are necessary on hilly lands to prevent soil erosion and also for convenience in tapping. To establish a this, the soil is cut away 1.0 – 1.5 m back to the hill from the planting guide stick with a drop of 25-50 cm to the back of the terrace.

Establishing a Terrace by Cutting the Soil


Size and shape of the hole depends largely on the soil condition and planting materials. In fertile and soft soils, hole shall be 25-30 cm in diameter and 40-45 deep. In poor and hard soils, bigger holes are required from 40-45 cm diameter to 50-60 cm deep. If possible, holing must be done few days before planting.3

Management practices

Fertilizer application

Normally rubber plants respond very well to organic matter and fertilizers. 10 to 12 kg of well rotten organic manure and 225 grams of rock phosphate should be applied to each plant pit while preparing the piit as basal application. This dosage iss recommended up to 4th year of planting. In case of soils having magnesium deficiency, a fertilizer mixture of 10:10:4:1.5 of N: P2O5: K2O: MgO at 100, 400, 500 and 400 kg per hectare should be applied during the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th year of rubber planting. In case of magnesium rich soils, a fertilizer mixture of 12:12:6 of N: P2O5: K2O at 85, 340, 430 and 340 kg per hectare during the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th year of rubber planting.


This will generate good revenue during the first two years of cultivation. The suitable intercrops in rubber plantation are like ginger, turmeric, tuber crops, vegetables, pineapple, banana and medicinal or herbal plants.

Cover cropping

This is very helpful in sloppy regions to prevent soil erosion. This also helps in enhancing the soil fertility and controls the weed growth along with soil temperature. Intercropping like leguminous crops will help in nitrogen fixation in the soil.

Weed control

Weeding is usually carried out manually or chemically or through combination of both. The main weeds commonly foundin rubber plantation are Axonopus, Paspalum, Digitaria, Mikania, Sida, Pennisetum etc. as a pre emergence application, chemical herbicides like Alachor, Diuron and Simazina should be applied to control the weeds. Herbicides like Paraquat and Glyphosate can be applied in the post emergent stage.

Pest and Diseases Management

Pest and diseases

Scale insect, termite, mealy bug, cockchafer grub and mites are the main pests in rubber plantation. The following are the control measures:

Scale insect: spray malathion at 50 EC 2 ml/litre of water

Mealy bug: spray fish oil rosin-soap 25g/l

Termite: Drench the soil at plant base with chlorpyriphos 20 EC 2 ml/l of water.

Cockchafer grub: drench the soil at plant base in the affected area with chlorpyriphos 20 EC 2ml/l of water.

Mites: Spray sulphur at 50 WP at 2g/l of water.

Rubber tree is subjected to many diseases like abnormal leaf fall, secondary leaf fall, Bird’s eye spot, Leaf spot, Powdery mildew, pink disease, patch canker or bark cankers, dry rot, stump rot, collar rot or charcoal rot and brown root disease are the main disease found in rubber farming.4

Harvesting and Postharvest Handling


This stage is attainable at seven years provided they possess the required girth of the trees. Seedling must attain a girth of 55cm at a height of 50 cm from the ground. In the case of budded trees, the girth should be 50 cm at a height of 125 cm from the bud union. Tapping is the periodical removing of thin slices of bark to extract rubber latex. Tapping is done by skilled men. While tapping the depth should be 1mm close to cambium without any damage to it, otherwise callus formation will take place causing swellings. Tapping has to be done on a slope of 300 to the horizontal zone in the case of budded trees and 250 in the case of seedlings. Tapping is done early in the morning, as late tapping will cause reduction in the flow of latex. In the early morning the turgor pressure in the latex vessels is high and rapid flow of latex occurs.


In rubber plantation, yield depends on the method of propagation. In any method, usually yield increases year by year. the yield reaches peak after 14 to 15 years of planting. An annual average yield of rubber is about 375 to 400 kg/ha from seedlings tree. In budded plants, an average yield of 800 – 1000 kg/ha can be obtained.


The latex that flows out from the rubber trees on tapping is channelled into a container, generally coconut shell cups, attached to them. Latex collected in coconut shell cups in transferred to clean buckets, two to three hours after tapping. The latex which gets dried up on the tapping panel (tree lace) and the collection cups (shell scrap) also form a part of the crop and are collected by the tapper in baskets just prior to tapping. The latex spilt including overflows on the ground (earth scrap), when gets dried up, is also collected once in a month. Normally 10-20 % of the total crop constitute the tree lace, shell scrap and earth scrap. Rubber can be processed and marketed as Preserved latex concentrates: The latex is collected in the storage tank, from there it is brought to a centrifuge machine, rotating at 1440 rpm. Due to the centrifugal action, liquid portion comes out. The upper layer, the concentrated latex, is collected and brought to bulking tank and mixed with chemical and packed in drums. 60% rubber is present in it. Skim latex is taken to another tank and sulphuric acid is added and coagulated and milled to get skim crepe. It is of poor quality while the concentrated latex fetches very higher price. Dry ribbed sheet rubber: Anti-coagulants (solutions of ammonia, formalin or sodium sulphite) are added to the cups to prevent the coagulation of latex before it reaches the factory. The latex so collected is bulked and then strained to remove the impurities. It is then diluted to a standard consistency of 12-13% rubber. Special hydrometers like metrolac, latex meter are employed to measure the percentage of rubber. After dilution, the latex is strained through a 60 mesh screen for the second time. Then it is poured into the special coagulating tanks or aluminium pans which is divided into many compartments by thin aluminium sheets and acetic acid or formic acid to use for coagulation. Slow coagulation produces a soft rubber, which is easy to work on the rollers. The acid is to be added quickly and mixed thoroughly with the surface of rubber sheets. After coagulation, rubber sheets are repeatedly washed several times with changes of water and passed through hand or power operated rollers. In the roller excess water and dissolved impurities are pressed and squeezed out. The surface of the rollers may be either smooth or grooved or zig zag or straight or diamond pattern, its impression is normally left on the surface of the sheets when they come out of the press. These sheets are hung in shade for two to three hours for dripping in a dust free place. They are then taken to smoke houses for thorough drying. Smoking of rubber sheets is done to dry the sheets properly and to avoid formation of blisters. In the smokehouse, the sheets are smoked at a low temperature of 48-500C with fairly high humidity during the first day subsequently during 2nd to 4th day the temperature being 680C with low relative humidity. They are taken out, graded and packed. Such products are known as smoked sheets or dry ribbed sheet rubber. Various grades of rubber sheets are RMA IX, RMA-1, RMA-2, RMA-3, RMA-4 and RMA-5. High grade rubber sheets are clear, free from blisters, translucent and of a golden brown colour and fetch a better price. Dry crepe rubber: When coagulum from latex or any form of field coagulum after necessary preliminary treatments is passed through a set of creping machines to get crinkly, lace-like rubber called crepe rubber after drying. Various grades of crepe rubbers are EPC super 1 X, EPC1X, EPC2X, and EPC3X. 1

Rubber Exports

Demand and Exports of rubber

Nigeria has a comparative trade advantage on rubber production and exportation besides crude oil. Nigeria exports about 60,000 tons of natural rubber annually. The production of natural rubber in Nigeria which began in 1894 with the exploitation of indigenous wild rubber of Funtumia elastica was found to be the best source of plant because of its singular ability to renew its bark and thus ensure sustained harvest. It was introduced into Nigeria from Kew Gardens, England around 1895 with the first rubber estate planted at Sapele in 1903 and a second one at Nkisi in the then Eastern region in 1912. By 1925, some 1000 hectares of European owned estates existed in the South – western Nigeria.

Areas where grown in Nigeria

Rubber is grown in Edo, Delta, Ondo, Ogun, Abia, Anambra, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Rivers, Ebonyi and Bayelsa States where the amount of rainfall is about 1800 mm to 2000 mm per annum. Natural rubber performs three main functions in our national economy; these are the provision of raw materials for the agro-based industries, it provides foreign exchange earnings and places Nigeria in the world map as a net exporter of rubber and lastly, it offers employment to a sizeable segment of the Nigerian farming rural.

Demand for rubber started to pick up after the global economy recovered from financial crises in late 2008 and early 2009. Positive moves in the tyre production industry which captures 68% of the total demand for natural rubber helped to boost the requirement further. Recovery in global automobile sales also helped in the recovery of rubber prices. While the requirement of natural rubber continued to increase, its production and supply did not increase at the same pace because of plantations are either too old or immature to start yielding.

The gap between the demand and supply of natural rubber increased further in 2009 when Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, the three largest producers of natural rubber cut down the production by 4.3% of their volume to stabilize global rubber price. Rapid growth in the automobile sectors of China and India also increased the demand for natural rubber in 2011, while the supply remained low.

According to the International Rubber Study group, the global demand for natural rubber may reach 12.4 million tons by 2015 and 14.2 million tons by 2020, while the production of natural rubber can reach only 13.6 million tons/ year in 2020. Demand for natural rubber for automobile industry in China and India is also expected to increase further.

Exports of Rubber by Country

Global sales from natural rubber exports by country in 2016 amounted to US$12 billion.
That amount represents an average -67.1% drop in value since 2012 when natural rubber shipments were valued at $36.5 billion. Year over year, rubber shipments depreciated by -9.4% from 2015 to 2016. Among continents, Asian countries accounted for about $10.2 billion or 80% of international natural rubber sales. African exporters supplied 8.5% of the global total followed by Europe at 4.7%.

Accounting for a much smaller percentage of exported natural rubber was Latin America (excluding Mexico) and the Caribbean at 1.1% while North America was the laggard at 0.9% of global rubber shipments.

Below are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of natural rubber during 2016:

  • Thailand: US$4.4 billion (36.8% of total natural rubber exports)
  • Indonesia: $3.4 billion (28.1%)
  • Vietnam: $904.1 million (7.5%)
  • Malaysia: $871.1 million (7.3%)
  • Côte d’Ivoire: $726.3 million (6.1%)
  • Myanmar (Burma): $194.1 million (1.6%)
  • Germany: $153.4 million (1.3%)
  • Belgium: $126.4 million (1.1%)
  • Guatemala: $120.9 million (1%)
  • Liberia: $106.3 million (0.9%)
  • Laos: $100 million (0.8%)
  • Singapore: $94.9 million (0.8%)
  • Luxembourg: $94.5 million (0.8%)
  • United States: $93.1 million (0.8%)
  • Netherlands: $70.7 million (0.6%)

The listed 15 countries accounted for 95.4% of all natural rubber exports during 2016.

Fourteen of the top 15 natural rubber exporters posted declines from 2012 to 2016. Heaviest losers were Singapore (down -69.9%), Malaysia (down -65.8%), Vietnam (down -63.8%), Germany (down -61.9%) and Liberia (down -61.8%).

The 4-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix for natural rubber is 4001


Natural Rubber Exporting Companies

Below are rubber manufacturing companies that dominate the worldwide rubber trade, with a focus on rubber tire makers.

  • Bridgestone Corp (Japan)
  • Michelin (France)
  • Goodyear (United States)
  • Continental A.G. (Germany)
  • Pirelli & C. S.p.A. (Italy)
  • Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. (Japan)
  • Hankook Tire Co. Ltd. (South Korea)
  • Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. (Japan)
  • Maxxis International/Cheng Shin Rubber Industrial Co. Ltd. (Taiwan)
  • Zhongce Rubber Group Co. Ltd. (China)

These 10 companies accounted for almost two-thirds of worldwide rubber tire sales in 2015.

According to global trade intelligence firm Zepol, the following companies are also important players in the rubber industry:

  • PT PP London Sumatra Indonesia TBK (Indonesia)
  • Lee Rubber (Malaysia)
  • Transityre (France)


Rubber Prices, Economic importance and Government Policy

The liberalization of trade has exposed Nigerian rubber to the fluctuations in global rubber prices and the instability in the natural rubber prices has been a disincentive for rubber production and exports. Underlying factors in the export of natural rubber as a sub–sector of agriculture are investigated using secondary data from Nigeria during 1960–2004 and primary data rom 120 farmers and analyzed using descriptive statistics and multiple regressions. Result revealed that output and producers price exerted positive effects on export supply, that is a rise in output and producer’s price would cause exporters to export more natural rubber. However, domestic consumption quantity and annual rainfall were disincentives to rubber exporters.

Rubber producers also experienced a multiplicity of problems, which centred on inputs used in rubber production and aged rubber trees. The International market, the tone of crum Rubber can be sold for over the one thousand dollars, and the market for it is readily available.

Rubber wood is classified as light hardwood. When freshly cut, it is whitish yellow and seasons to pale cream with a pinkish tinge. In its natural form, rubber wood is non-durable, hence, first class preservation and drying treatments are required immediately after cutting to avoid discoloration, bowing and twisting of the wood. Processing equipment includes an Impregnation plant, Cross Cutter and Edger. Usually from the stock of preserved and treated wood that designs and specifications are made to meet specific contracts. Capital cost and technology required for rubber wood processing are low, while the designs and specifications can be produced relatively easy.

Rubber wood is classified as light hardwood. When freshly cut, it is whitish yellow and seasons to pale cream with a pinkish tinge. In its natural form, rubber wood is non-durable, hence, first class preservation and drying treatments are required immediately after cutting to avoid discoloration, bowing and twisting of the wood. Processing equipment includes an Impregnation plant, Cross Cutter and Edger. Usually from the stock of preserved and treated wood that designs and specifications are made to meet specific contracts. Capital cost and technology required for rubber wood processing are low, while the designs and specifications can be produced relatively easy.

Rubber wood can be used to manufacture several furniture items such as: Benches, block boards, breadboards, building components, cabinets, dinning sets, doors, furniture parts, gift boxes, jewellery boxes, parquet flooring, rocking chairs, tables, tea trolleys, television cabinets, nets, wood rack etc.

According to estimates made by the Rubber Board of India, the stock of rubber wood all over the world is on the rise; and by 2020, an annual output of 52 million cubic meters of rubber wood would be made available. Out of this total, 14 million cubic meters will be industrially usable logs.

With the demand-supply gap in the Nigerian timber market widening, the need to promote rubber wood as a veritable substitute has become very imperative. At the moment, awareness about rubber wood is low amongst timber traders and users. Even among those who are aware, only few use rubber wood. In order to promote use of this eco-friendly timber and solve the prevailing crisis of timber shortage, government should establish a promotional agency with regulatory powers supplemented with R&D facilities to implement and monitor prescribed standards for primary and secondary processing and downstream manufacturing of rubber wood in Nigeria. There should be provision for institutional support in terms of market intelligence on domestic and external markets and incentives for manufacturing value added products. Overall, there should be a perspective plan to ensure a regulated growth of the rubber wood industry in the country. Countries like Malaysia are already in the vanguard of rubber wood exports. It exports about $650 million worth of rubber wood annually supplying the U.S., Europe and Japanese markets. Philippines and Thailand are also dominant in the export market. The export market takes first quality rubber wood almost exclusively; a cubit meter of wood goes for between $250 and $350 depending on the quality. The rubber wood market requires the following: consistent quality, acceptable prices, packaging to customers’ specifications, guaranteed delivery schedules, continuity of supplies and a readiness to accept customer – led design. To ensure continuity, some South – East Asian countries have adopted the principle of planting five trees for every single one cut down. This way they have been able to develop, not only the rubber wood industry, but also the entire rubber industry.

The reality right now is that the increasing cost of sourcing rubber wood has made companies in Asia and buyers in the U. S. and Europe to search for cheaper sources particularly among rubber producing countries, of which Nigeria is a significant producer. Presently, Nigeria has an estimated 240,000 hectares of planted rubber trees, out of which an estimated 150,000 hectares are over aged. Since approximately 180 cubic meters of wood volume could be obtained from a hectare of rubber plantation, as much as 27million cubic meters of wood volume could be obtained from the existing stock of rubber wood in the country. As much as 35 standard sawn rubber wood planks are contained in a cubic meter.

Selling rubber wood plank for N600 (at this promotional stage; teak and mahogany goes for over a N1, 300 per plank), a gross retail sales value of N567 billion could be realized over time from local sales of this wood specie. Export sales value is estimated at $8.1 billion (assuming the entire stock was exported as planks; value could actually be higher if sold as manufactured products). States such as Ondo, Edo, Delta, Cross River, and Rivers, are predominantly rubber-growing states with large holdings of over aged trees. Prospective investors (including governments since some of the plantations are government owned) could set up saw milling and manufacturing plants in these areas and take advantage of the abundant raw materials available. The village dweller would earn better income from his or her over aged rubber tree if sold to these processors, instead of using it mainly as firewood for cooking.

According to market reports, the demand for rubber wood in the international markets is likely to outstrip supply in the foreseeable future, due to rising consumer preference for environmentally friendly wood products, of which rubber wood is one. More so, the rising preference for parquet flooring in the US and Europe, for which rubber has been found to be ideally suited, further promotes the commercial viability of this project.

It is not surprising that the three or four plants presently processing rubber wood for export in the country are not able to meet requests from their overseas buyers.

Rubber wood unlike most other hard woods has no export restrictions placed on it by the federal government. I therefore recommend this project to three categories of investors: First, rubber plantation owners who may want to utilized their over aged tree stock to earn foreign exchange Second, corporate organizations that may want to diversify into the rubber industry and have this project as a rubber wood – processing subsidiary. Lastly, NGOs and CBOs, involved in poverty reduction and job creation programs may set up a central rubber wood processing facility to process trees owned by community members and give rural dwellers opportunity to earn more income from their own resources.


Rubber Specifications

Natural Rubber (NR) is produced from latex obtained from rubber trees in plantations. The most important forms in which NR is processed are the following: Sheets, Crepes, Block Rubber and Preserved Latex Concentrates.

Natural rubber (NR) processed into blocks adopting a new processing techniques is a notable improvement in the presentation of dry natural rubber. In India , block rubber is marketed with BIS specifications (IS4588 – 1986) and therefore, this rubber is termed as Indian Standard Natural Rubber (ISNR).

Two types of Sheet Rubber are produced and marketed in the international market, namely the Ribbed Smoked Sheets (RSS) and the Air Dried Sheets (ADS). Among these two types, Ribbed Smoked Sheet is the most popular and is available for consumption. There exist different grades of Ribbed Smoked Sheets rubber, namely RSS IX, RSS 1, RSS 2, RSS 3, RSS 4 and RSS 5.

Conventional Grades of Ribbed Smoked SheetsUsed for the manufacturingEquivalent ISNR (TSR) grades(which could replace conventional grades)
RSS – 1XAero tyresISNR – 3L
PLC – 1XInjection bottle caps etc.ISNR – 3CV
RSS – 1Tubes (NR)ISNR – 5
PLCFood Conveyer Belts etc.ISNR – 5
RSS – 2Extruded hoses, Quality Footwear itemsISNR – 10
RSS – 3, RSS – 4Tyres & Tubes, Tread Carcass, Off road tyres & ADV tyres, Extruded hoses, FootwearISNR – 10, ISNR – 20
RSS – 5Cheap items, hand – made hosesISNR – 50
EBCCycle tyres, Footwear etc.ISNR – 50
Technically Specified Crepe RubberMedical, Engineering, Retreading, Automobile and FootwearISNR – 5 & ISNR – 3



Though Synthetic Rubber (SR) varieties have become available, demand for Natural Rubber (NR) always remains high. Following are some end products made from Natural Rubber.



Conveyer Belts

Rubber Mats

Automotive Parts

Rubber Intermediate


Coating Material

Surgical Gloves


Industrial Gloves


Elastic Thread

Rubber Foam

Coir Foam

Carpet Backing

Rubber Bands















RSS 1 refers to Ribbed Smoked Sheets, produced from natural rubber latex as ribbed sheets, by coagulation with acids and sheeting, properly air dried and smoked, and visually graded.

Ribbed smoked sheets (RSS) are graded based on visual assessment of quality. The International Rubber Quality and Packing Conference (IRQPC) have specified the grade descriptions, to establish acceptable grades for commercial usage.



Ribbed Smoked Sheets (RSS 3) is coagulated from high quality natural rubber latex produced by Thomson Rubbers. Rubber latex processed into ribbed rubber sheets and then sheeted, dried, smoked, and visually graded.

RSS3 rubber sheets are used in the production of Tyres (tires) & Tubes, Tread Carcass, Off road tyres & ADV tyres, Extruded hoses, Footwear etc. Tyre industry is the biggest consumer of RSS3 rubber sheets. The majority of rubber is exported as ribbed smoked sheets (RSS), (over 50%), of which ribbed smoked sheet no.3 ( RSS 3 ) constitutes the major part.



ISNR 20 (TSR 20) is general purpose Rubber graded by precise technical standards and not by visual characteristics. Some standards may vary marginally based on the origin. Technically Specified Rubber (TSR) is used for making tyres, tubes, rubber mats, cushion gum stock, raincoat proofing, micro-cellular sheet for upholstery and packing, conveyor belts, foot wear and various other rubber products.

TSR-20 has excellent processing characteristics and good physical properties. Its low viscosity and easier mixing characteristic (compared with the RSS grades) will reduce the mastication and mixing period considerably.


Thomson Rubbers offers ISNR20 (TSR20) rubber with following specifications:





General Info

Before the early 1960’s rubber was produced in 3 forms – ECB, PLC & Sheet. The actual properties and grade of these were determined visually and was prone to human error. Later, the rubber industry started producing rubber with exactly known properties and specifications. Thus Technically Specified Rubber (TSR) grading system was established. In India , it is called Indian Standard Natural Rubber (ISNR). ISNR (TSR) specification includes 7 grades: ISNR 3CV, ISNR 3L, ISNR 5, ISNR 10, ISNR 15, ISNR 20 (TSR 20) and ISNR 50

ISNR: Indian Standard Natural Rubber

TSR: Technically Specified Rubber

ISNR-20 (TSR20) – Mostly manufactured from shell scrap, tree lace and cup lumps.


Skim CrepeSkim Crepe

Skim Crepe (Skim Block) is a crinkly lace rubber, obtained when coagulated latex or any form of field coagulum (tree lace, shell scrap, earth scrap etc.) is passed several times through heavy rolls called crepers and then air dried at ambient temperatures. They are rapid-curing crepe or granulated (block) rubber containing a higher proportion of non-rubbers than ordinary sheet, crepe or block.
Estate Brown Crepe

Estate Brown Crepe (EBC) is produced in Blanket Form from lump and other high grade natural rubber scrap (field coagulam) generated in rubber estates. Power wash mills are used in milling these grades into a form of thick and thin crepes.