Rubber growers seek import ban

By: |
Thiruvananthapuram | Published: December 23, 2016 6:07:27 AM

Rubber growers have sought a ban on import of natural rubber (NR) for atleast six months. Indian Rubber Growers Association (IRGA) has called on Union minister of state for commerce Nirmala Sitaraman in New Delhi, urging her to impose restrictions on imports and to incentivise NR exports.

Rubber growers have sought a ban on import of natural rubber (NR) for atleast six months. Indian Rubber Growers Association (IRGA) has called on Union minister of state for commerce Nirmala Sitaraman in New Delhi, urging her to impose restrictions on imports and to incentivise NR exports.

“We have brought to the attention of the government that the production costs of NR are currently to the tune of R172 per kilo. Centre should devise schemes to push up the market price, which could meet the production costs with 50% mark-up, so that rubber farmers would stop leaving the trees untapped or switching over to other crops,” IRGA general secretary Sibi Monipally told FE.

According to the memorandum given to the commerce minister, when the international price is R160 per kilo, the premium variety RSS-4 fetches only R139 per kilo in India. IRGA has also sought that the Centre should immediately sanction the funds for rubber subsidy to the Rubber Board of India.

Other demands include ban on the import of cheap quality tyres, hike in the import tariff on rubber products, and the launch of a new rubber re-plantation drive.

Fall in demand of automobiles has been playing haywire with the NR demand. As much as 70% of the NR produced is used in commercial vehicles tyres. The collapse in vehicle sales by 11.58% in November kept the NR prices down.

Demonetisation, at this point, has been harsh on rubber cultivators in several ways, said Tomy Abraham, president, Indian Rubber Dealers Federation.

“Since workers refused to accept cheques, it has been hard to get skilled tappers to keep the plantations on continued latex production. This has added to the cultivator woes. If this state continues, it would be impossible to achieve the production target,” Tomy Abraham said.

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