All India Rubber Industries Association has renewed its demand for higher import duty on rubber-finished products to promote the interests of local producers and farmers.

The fall in natural rubber prices is mainly due to oversupply globally, with countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and India significantly increasing rubber cultivation to meet demand from the automotive industry, according to Shashi Singh, President, AIRIA.

Among factors influencing rubber prices, he listed demand and supply conditions, export and import dynamics, currency fluctuations, synthetic rubber usage, and the exploration of alternative materials. India currently ranks sixth globally in natural rubber production, accounting for 5.8 per cent.

Weak Chinese demand

Singh blamed the price drop — which has benefited tyre and non-tyre sectors — on weak Chinese demand and the European energy crisis. Challenges faced by rubber cultivators include price fluctuations, climate changes, tree-related issues, and labour shortages.

The government recently moved to increase aid to rubber plantations by 23 per cent, at ₹708.69 crore, over two years in a bid to incentivise cultivation.