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Compatibility of Policy and Institutional Regimes for Rubber Plantation Development in Diverse Social and Agro-Ecological Environments in India

Publication Type : Presentation

Publisher : 2016.

Source : 2016.

Campus : Amritapuri

School : School of Business

Department : Department of Management

Year : 2016

Abstract : The Chapter describes policies and institutional interventions for agricultural development of the backward Northeastern region of India. Various national and state agricultural development agencies, especially the commodity boards have been constantly engaged in the development of commercial agriculture in the region. Among the commodity boards, the interventions by the Rubber Board have been quite significant in terms of social and economic impacts and the entire NER is emerging as the ‘Hub of rubber production’ in the country accounting for 18 percent of the total area and 6 percent of the total production during 2013. The process of rubber expansion has been quite dramatic, even surpassing the growth observed in the traditional rubber growing states in south India, including Kerala, Tamilnadu and Karnataka. The phenomenal growth of rubber plantation areas in the NE region is also a matter of serious concern, as rubber is highly promoted as a monoculture system in the otherwise diverse agro-ecological environments of the NER. Rubber expansion in the NER has been justified on the grounds of: (a) ever increasing domestic demand for natural rubber from the manufacturing sector (dominated by tyre industry); and (b) the saturation of agro-climatically suitable lands in the traditional regions, especially, Kerala. Moreover, promotion of rubber cultivation in the NER has been considered to have greater social impacts in terms of rehabilitating the erstwhile shifting cultivators in the region and thereby leading to their social and economic empowerment. However, it emerges that the specific policy and institutional interventions have been oriented towards promoting rubber as a monoculture system in the NE region, which seem to pose potential threats to the co-existing land use and resource management as well as integrated livelihood systems followed by the rural households, dominated by tribal communities in the region. The Chapter further argues that given the agro-ecological diversity and the specific socioeconomic, ethnic and institutional settings as well as the pattern of livelihoods followed, the policies and institutional interventions for rubber development in the NER invariably requires an integrated and holistic approach, so as to minimise the damages caused to the fragile agro-ecosystems of the region and thereby not disturbing the inland fishery, livestock and forestry integrated livelihood systems in the region. Replication of the rubber monoculture as had been widely promoted in the traditional regions, especially, Kerala to the NER, can be a cause of conflict with the pre-existing as well as coexisting agricultural production (including food crops) practices/ farm integrated livelihood systems. Moreover, the institutional makeover, including infrastructure support of the Rubber Board in the region also require major restructuring to evolve an integrated approach towards rubber development along with promotion of other livelihood and rubber integrated agro-forestry systems.

Cite this Research Publication : Dr. Viswanathan P. K., “Compatibility of Policy and Institutional Regimes for Rubber Plantation Development in Diverse Social and Agro-Ecological Environments in India”. 2016.

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