THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: What do the eerily silent rubber plantations of Kerala got to do with the Soccer World Cup? Connecting the game with the state are the jabulani balls setting the stadium on fire. For, in every 100 jabulani balls that roll in South Africa, there will be approximately 7 kg rubber from Kerala! The latex bladders that give shape, speed and bounce to the jabulani are made by Delhi-based Enkay India Rubber Co which sources rubber latex from Kerala.
“We have supplied around 200,000 bladders for jabulani . We are still supplying them,’’ said Naresh Jain, one of the directors of Enkay. Enkay, whose main business includes sports and surgical goods, shoe soles and auto parts, has been supplying latex bladders to Adidas.
“A major chunk of rubber consumed at our end comes from Kerala.
Our major suppliers are government plantations. We use DRC 60 pc latex or latex with a 60 pc dry rubber content. We prefer Kerala to other rubber growing areas because of quality and convenience,’’ said Naresh Jain.
The rubber latex has been sourced from government plantat ions in Peruanapuram near Perambra, Nilambur, Kodumon and Chandanapally. The Plantation Corporation Kerala confirmed that Enkay had indeed purchased latex from them.
“From May 20, 2009 to February 20 this year they purchased almost 12 truckloads of latex from us which they must have used for making the bladders,’’ said Mohankumar, GM (Commerce), Plantation Corporation.
“We mix chemicals and additives to make the latex less porous/breathable so as to retain the air for a longer time when inside an inflated ball,’’ said Naresh Jain.
So what if India is not playing the game, the jabulani balls are certainly on a roll.