The government and the Rubber Development Department (RDD) will increase the rubber new planting and re-planting subsidy amounts per hectare this year for the benefit of smallholders and the corporate sector.
Earlier, under the rubber new planting and re-planting subsidy, Rs 125,000 was provided per hectare by the RDD.
"Accordingly, for 2011, smallholders have been given a target to cultivate 1850 and 2000 hectares for re-planting and new planting respectively in selected areas. The corporate sector has been advised to cultivate 1850 hectares under the rubber new planting and re-planting process in 2011, RDD senior official said.
In order to increase productivity in rubber cultivating lands, RDD encourages cultivators to have more intercrops such as banana, plantains and passion fruit intermingled with rubber. The RDD initiated a subsidy scheme to provide money for cultivators who grow intercrops in rubber cultivated lands.
RDD is in the process of providing Rs 4,000 per a hectare of rubber plantation with intercrops.
In keeping with intercrop subsidy, 36 hectares, 20 hectares, 23 hectares, 8 hectares and 14 hectares of rubber lands have to be cultivated with intercrops in Kegalle, Ratnapura, Kalutara, Galle and Moneragala districts respectively in 2011.
The cultivators of these lands have to generate Rs 0.28 million, Rs 0.16 million, Rs 0.18 million, Rs 0.9 million and Rs 0.01 million through intercrops in Kegalle, Ratnapura, Kalutara, Galle and Moneragala districts in 2011. RDD will extend its service further by initiating a rain guard subsidy for wet land mature rubber trees in the smallholder and corporate sector.
Accordingly, Rs 25 will be provided for a rubber tree and the subsidy will cover 6,000 hectares and 10,000 hectares for the small holders and corporate sector in 2011.(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)