Agri Business

Centre to formulate rubber policy to boost industry

Kochi | Updated on October 30, 2018 Published on October 30, 2018

Sheela Thomas, IAS, lighting the lamp at the inaugural function of IRM 2018 at Hotel Grand Hyatt, Bolgatty, Kochi. Vinod Simon (left, Vice Chairman, IRM 2018), D Anandan, IAS (second right, Chairman & Executive Director, Rubber Board) and Dr Shanmugha Sundaram, IAS (former Chairman, Rubber Board) are also seen.

The Union Government is working on a rubber policy to benefit the entire rubber value chain, said Suresh Prabhu, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, in a video message at the inaugural session of the India Rubber Meet.

The Centre, along with governments of Kerala and Tripura, has formed a task force for the purpose and its report is ready. He also said action would be taken on whatever deliberations, discussions and findings were made in IRM 2018, for the benefit of the rubber growers and the industry and to drive economic growth.

Sheela Thomas, former Secretary-General, Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries, said a multifaceted approach — combining institutional, developmental and regulatory measures; research, innovations and quality; skill generation and improvement; and modern modes of trading — is essential to ensure sustainability of the rubber value chain.

The value chain in India annually produces items worth around ₹85,000 crore with annual exports reaching ₹19,000 cr. There is vast potential for the industry to grow in terms of range of products, value addition, technology upgradation, quality enhancement, export and employment generation.

“We cannot overlook the vulnerability of weak and marginal sections of the rubber value chain in restructuring to suit the new environment. The precarious situation of small and marginal rubber growers to low and volatile rubber prices, low productivity, rising costs, climate change etc needs special mention,” she said.

According to D Anandan, Chairman & Executive Director, Rubber Board, the prospects of the rubber sector are closely linked to macroeconomic trends, developments in end-product sectors, technological change, oil market developments, weather conditions, speculative and other factors.

NR prices have seen both low and comfortable levels, on and off, over the decades. The present slump in rubber prices has been prolonged, challenging the sustainability of rubber cultivation in terms of its economic and social impact.

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Published on October 30, 2018
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