When Vasco da Gama reached India in 1498, he arrived first in Calicut, Kerala, South of India. Two years later, Pedro Alvares Cabral, after discovering Brazil continued journey up to Kerala. Now Kerala is exporting rubber to Brazil, from the rubber tree that was indigenous to Brazil. That’s the story Pramod Thomas tells us in the New Indian Express:
“The rubber tree was indigenous to Brazil. Even export of its seeds was prohibited. Then came the Colonial rule that spread the cash crop across Asia. The ‘rubber evolution’ has now come full circle with a company from Kerala exporting rubber to Brazil. Manimalayar Rubbers Private Ltd – a company owned jointly by the Rubber Board and the Rubber Producers’ Societies (RPSs) – exported 19 metric tonnes of natural rubber valued at`30 lakh to the South American nation this February. The purchase was made by Industria de Artefatos de Borracha, a company based at Sorocaba in Sao Paulo.
“The company is making a foray into the export market in accordance with the Rubber Board’s view that export of natural rubber is essential to create positive movements in the domestic market,” said Manimalayar Rubbers managing director B Rajeevan. The consignment was exported under the brand name ‘Indian Natural Rubber’ after a quality check by the Rubber Board. Manimalayar Rubbers procured quality sheet rubber from Aimkombu, Neelur, Kurinji, and Elangulam North RPSs in Kottayam.
“It’s a unique initiative by the Board and the RPSs. Though Brazil is the place of origin of rubber, the country now requires it from Asian countries. This is a big opportunity for India,” said Tomy Abraham, president, Indian Rubber Dealers’ Federation. Tomy said this is the right time for India to explore export markets as international rubber price is currently higher by `10-15 a kg compared to domestic prices. The rise in rubber production continues in the country and the production of natural rubber during January 2017 showed an increase of 26.93% as compared to the same period last year. Export of natural rubber has also increased. As per Rubber Board data, 12,000 tonnes were exported up to February 20, 2017.