Agri Business

Rubber support price hike to benefit Kerala’s small and marginal farmers

V Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on January 15, 2021 Published on January 15, 2021

The higher support price of rubber at ₹170 per kg will be effective from April 1 in Kerala   -  The Hindu

Kerala’s move to incentivise rubber growers by increasing the support price to ₹170 per kg from ₹150 in the State Budget for 2021-22 will provide some respite to small and marginal farmers, who are reeling under high cost of production, stakeholders said.

The majority of the 7-lakh rubber growers in Kerala, the largest producing State, fall under the small and marginal category. The higher support price will be effective from April 1.

Kerala Rubber Park

George Valy, President of the Kottayam Rubber Dealers Federation, said that this would increase rubber production to cater to the demand of the industry. The government should also come out with a scheme for replanting senile plants by extending finance at lower interest rates, he said, adding that the announcement to set up Kerala Rubber Park on the models of Amul co-operative society as a hub to produce various rubber related products is a good move.

PC Cyriac, President, Indian Farmers Movement (Infam), said that the budget proposal would provide only a temporary relief to farmers. The State government could not do much for farmers and it is up to the Centre to control the imports and make available reasonable price for growers.

A highly placed source in the rubber sector told BusinessLine that announcing the support price while the rates are moving up will distort the price structure and market dynamics. It will be ideal to give a support price or any kind of incentive when prices are on a declining mode. This will help raise production and infuse confidence among the farming community.

Further, the decision will affect the quality of the raw material produced as farmers are assured a price for their produce.

Quoting State Planning Board's report, R.Harikumar, president of Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that the impact of the lockdown had projected major losses for the agriculture and plantation sector with an estimated loss of Rs650 crore to rubber plantations wherein workers (tappers mainly) lost around Rs110 crore. The decision to increase the base price would definitely be a major relief for the farmers.

According to the latest Economic Survey, coconut occupies the largest area with 29.3 per cent coverage followed by rubber with 21.28 per cent. As the de-growth in agriculture as to the tune of -6.63 per cent as per the economic survey, he said the guarantee of a MSP will enable the sector to catch with growth.

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Published on January 15, 2021
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