The United Planters’ Association of Southern India, UPASI asks Centre to ban import of natural rubber, through all channels until domestic price stabilises at affordable levels for domestic farmers. Earlier government took a decision to enforce port restrictions in imports and ban duty-free imports till March 2016.
But currently bulk of the imports is through Chennai and Mumbai ports only and restricting imports through other ports will not have much impact. Further the percentage of duty-free imports is only to an extent of 15-20% of total imports. So the government needs to take further steps to support the domestic production.
Rubber Price and Kerala
Kerala accounts for 82% of rubber production in the country and falling prices had badly affected around a million growers and their families in the state. Low rubber prices make tapping unviable for most of the farmers. So they withdrew from tapping and replanting of rubber. 43,000-crore industry now reeling under high doses of taxation, un-remunerative returns and commodity price fluctuation. The recently amended Bonus Act would also severely impact the plantation business where 60 per cent of the cost is on employee remuneration. The growers, many of them medium and small holders, were also hit by the hike in input cost, especially the wages.
Falling rubber price in Kerala is not only affecting the growers but also banks. With prices plummeting, planters’ savings have reduced and fresh loans to the sector have slowed. Falling prices of natural rubber derailed the Rs 300-crore subsidy scheme announced by the Kerala government to provide relief to nearly a million small growers of the commodity.
Farmers and dealers fear that if the import continued at the current level, the prices will dip further.
Rubber Price Today
RSS4, Kottayam – Rs 96.00/Kg
RSS5, Kottayam – Rs 91.50/Kg