BACK in February, in a major branding exercise, India’s Rubber Board had unveiled a quality certification logo for natural rubber that was expected to increase the acceptability of ‘Indian Natural Rubber’ in the world market.
Now, with 3000 tonnes of branded natural rubber- Indian Natural Rubber- being exported since February (that forms 35 per cent of the total rubber exported during February – August period this year); Malaysia and China, world’s largest consumers of natural rubber, are interested in importing from India.
“India may only be the fourth largest producer of natural rubber. But, unlike India, the top three producers have not opted branding of natural rubber” said Binoy Kurien, Deputy Director, Marketing, India Rubber Board.
No doubt, this initiative of Rubber Board has given the country a lethal edge in international markets!
Indian Natural Rubber
Across agri-commodities, natural rubber (NR) is the one that finds industrial use like no other. Being a listless piece of enormous flexibility carrying a pungent smell, natural rubber has to ultimately find its abode in one or the other of industrial products. And since natural rubber goes to the industry, if it has a tag of identity to it, chances are better that it would find acceptance among industry players.
While this could be a philosophical approach there are reasons why it makes sense to brand natural rubber from India with logo and certification:
–Value creation across the natural rubber value chain
–An endorsement from the mandatory body that regulates the activities in natural rubber production in a nation that is the fourth largest producer of the same.
–An identity for rubber produced by countless faces toiling in plantations in rain and shine
–Instilling confidence in international buyers
–Providing stake holders with premium rates and helping farmers with lucrative prices
“All natural rubber exporters who are having valid Registration Cum Membership Certificate to export rubber from India can register with the Board for using the brand “Indian Natural Rubber”. The exporter shall pay a registration fee of Rs. 1000/- (one time) for using Indian Natural Rubber Logo on their products viz., RSS, ISNR and latex grades.” says the information from http://www.indiannaturalrubber.com
Apart from this, exporter will have to execute a MoU with the Board on the terms of logo usage. This will cover all the technical aspects, an export shall have to bear, while using the brand. Besides this Board will levy a logo usage fee for each kilogram of natural Rubber exported using logo.
The exporter has to grade, sort and pack the rubber as per Green Book/BIS specifications and seal individual packs with logo sticker and to inform “Export Ready status “for inspection.
Rubber Board will arrange inspection and draw samples for quality testing.
However, the usage of INR logo exporters is purely voluntary.
The Rubber Board is planning to introduce Indian Natural Rubber with fan fare in trade fairs and other gatherings starting 12th five year plan.
So who are the buyers of branded natural rubber?
“All who cares to buy!”, snapped Binoy.
Encouraging response from rubber manufacturers
The domestic manufacturers of rubber have shown encouraging response to branding initiatives floated by Rubber Board.
“There are about 50-55 active exporters for natural rubber in India. Amongst them, 35 exporters have opted for brand registration.” Binoy said.
“The encouraging fact is that those who export branded natural rubber are receiving repeat orders in the same category. This is because, the brand in itself is a quality assurance and where the negotiations were otherwise used to be focused on factors other than price (like quality), branding has changed the scenario by providing assured leg room when it comes to quality.” he added.
“There is virtually no risk: 99% risk has been contained by branding assurance.” Binoy elaborated.
What if players like Indonesia and Malaysia too come up with their own brands?
“We are having a forerunner advantage. Assured quality that comes through branding has cleared the stigma previously attached with Indian rubber. Also, other nations do not base them out of an organized playing ground. Unlike India, they lack a coordinated approach when it comes to natural rubber.” He said. “Their efforts are more or less individualistic and scattered”, he added.
Indian Natural Rubber can be touted as an umbrella brand, under which many private brands could flourish, Binoy continued.
“There are certain private players having their own brands in natural rubber. But, ‘Indian Natural Rubber’ can act as an Umbrella Brand and accommodate all these players under it.”
Source: Commodity Online