The increased budgetary allocation to Rubber Board has brought cheers to the sector. The stakeholders believe the government assistance would provide the much needed fillip to the ailing sector.

According to KN Raghavan, Executive Director, Rubber Board, the financial resources are available for all activities under the planned schemes. This includes subsidies for planting and replanting, support to rubber producer societies, setting up group processing centres, tappers banks, womens self-help groups. This would give a impetus to increasing productivity through assistance to rain-guarding, adoption of untapped plantations. There would be more funds to support research, more resources for training. Generally, the increased assistance would provide a new birth for the sector.

Need to spend more on research

Santhosh Kumar, Executive Director, Harrisons Malayalam Ltd said that the increased allocation to would help to discharge all the functions of the Board effectively, though the sanctioned funds are inadequate. There is an urgent need to improve the spending on research in view of the climate change and its impact on rubber production.

George Valy, president of Indian Rubber Dealers Federation described the enhanced allocation as a “positive development” which will help enhance domestic production to meet the industrial requirements. The new initiative is good for the entire industry to enhance rubber cultivation to more areas, coordinating research activities etc.

However, some growers have noted that the demand for changing the import duty from the current 25 per cent has not been considered in the budget. They have also raised concerns about the government not heeding to their request for amending the proposed Rubber Act for declaring rubber as an agriculture commodity and to fix a minimum support price for natural rubber.