Rubber growers seek fair price

Our Bureau Kochi | Updated on July 19, 2019 Published on July 19, 2019

Natural rubber prices are now in the range of ₹138 a kg

The Consortium of Indian Rubber Growers Organisation (CIRGO) has demanded fixing of a fair price for natural rubber to ensure better price realisation.

The fair price should be fixed at ₹258 a kg, considering the cost of production at ₹172 and 50 per cent of the COP as suggested by the MS Swaminathan Committee, said George Joseph, Convenor, CIRGO. With natural rubber prices ruling lower than the production cost, the majority of rubber farmers are in deep crisis and the emerging situation has made rubber farming non-viable.

Current prices

Natural rubber prices are now hovering in the range of ₹138 a kg and the lower price has forced many farmers either to stop tapping or abandon cultivation, leading to a huge drop in domestic production, he said. Johny Mathew, Coordinator, CIRGO, urged the government to restrict rubber imports from the South East Asian nations. Though the government has imposed port restrictions initially, it needs to be re-looked. The authorities should ensure proper infrastructure measures and staffing to curb imports.

According to Santhosh Kumar, joint coordinator, CIRGO, rubber has been classified as an industrial crop and it does not enjoy any protective measures extended to agricultural crops. The only way is to either renegotiate with WTO to bring back rubber to the basket of agricultural crops or impose safeguard duty to protect the livelihood of around 13 lakh growers.

He pointed out that rubber latex is already treated as an agricultural crop and hence all the facilities that an agricultural crop attracts should be made available to rubber growers since the primary produce from rubber tree is latex, scrap rubber and sheet rubber.

High input costs

Rubber being a long gestation crop, it requires huge investments by the grower for seven years before it starts yielding. To sustain the livelihood of growers for a further yielding period of 20-plus years, a fair price and a buyback scheme should be made available along with replanting subsidies provided by the Rubber Board, he added.

Published on July 19, 2019
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