The recently concluded India trade fair in Brazil's Sao Paulo has opened up new opportunities for export of natural rubber to the Latin American market.
The trade fair, organised by the India Trade Promotion Organisation from March 6 to 11, evoked a commendable response for natural rubber exports, with the Indian delegation receiving around 40 inquiries from various tyremakers and latex-based companies, said Rubber Board chairman Sajan Peter.
As a follow-up to the good response, the board is consolidating details of the companies, which evinced interest in the domestic rubber, he said.
Brazil promises big opportunities, opening up the prospects of increasing the domestic exports ten-fold. With a large number of latex-based units, the South American country requires latex more than sheet rubber.
At present, Brazil imports rubber mainly from Indonesia and depends partly on European re-exporters. Direct imports from India provide the advantage of lower cost.
Although Brazil is the place of origin of natural rubber, the country's annual production is just 100,000 tonnes, with the average annual consumption at 260,000 tonnes.
South American Leaf Blight, a disease that hit Brazil's rubber 7 years ago, has left the country's production static, even as annual consumption has been growing at 10 per cent.
India's latex exports to Brazil and Argentina are in limited quantity, with six Kerala-based companies - Thomson Rubbers, Santhome Latex, Season Rubbers, Mardec RK Latex, Periyar Latex and Kanam Latex - selling latex to the South American country.
Although India exports natural rubber to 44 countries, a big chunk is shipped to China - about 35 per cent of India's total exports.
India emerged as a global destination for natural rubber only towards the beginning of the new millennium and the exports touched 73,830 tonnes in 2005-06. This year, up to March 10, the country exported 62,199 tonnes of natural rubber.