Kerala HC issues notice to Centre

KC Gopakumar Kochi | Updated on October 05, 2019

The Kerala High Court has issued notice to the Centre on a writ petition seeking to classify natural rubber as agricultural produce and provide minimum support prices for it.

The petition was filed by KA Joseph, president of the Indian Rubber Dealers Federation and others. Prices of rubber have crashed in the last few years. This had made the production of rubber unviable and uneconomic.

They said that the growers had stopped tapping because of the price crash and increase in the cost of production. The price crash was due to the massive import of rubber. Dealers had also incurred heavy losses. In fact, rubber growers had long been demanding minimum support prices for rubber.

The petitioners also pointed out that rubber was brought under the Commission for Agricultural Cost and Prices(CAPC) under the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare in 2001. However, this has not been extended since then.

Price stabilisation could be ensured if a minimum support price is provided for rubber. In fact, under section 13 of the Rubber Act, the Central Government had the power to fix the maximum price or minimum price for the rubber, the petitioners said. They also pointed out they even the natural rubber policy 2019 of the Centre had pointed out that price volatility had directly impacted the livelihood of lakhs of small and marginal farmers. Therefore, efforts should be made to ensure that rubber growers’ livelihood was protected by way of providing a price-support mechanism, they said.

Published on October 05, 2019

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