Many rubber growers in India are shifting to other crops because of the falling rubber prices.
All Rubber Planters’ Association president Col N Sharath Bhandary said the government should increase the import duty on natural rubber to protect the local growers from competition.
“There are reports from plantation areas that rubber growers are planning to shift to other crops that will prove more profitable. Some growers have stopped tapping too.” he said. “Some others are reluctant to continue tapping, as the returns are low – even as labour cost remains high. The input cost has surged, in contrast. As a result, the quantity of natural rubber production has dropped,”
Aside from switching to other crops, some rubber farmers are delaying to sell their product, waiting for prices to change.
“Rubber prices have dropped to barely Rs 120 a kg. The Planters’ Association’s efforts to drive the market rate higher – with the help of the government – have failed. Rubber growers had a good time when prices had recorded Rs 220 a kg. There were times too, when growers failed to sell the stock, waiting further rise in prices,” he said.
He is pushing to increase the import duty because the current rubber imports are still too cheap compared to local rubber.
“The tyre manufacturers in India too are importing rubber in large quantities. The cost of natural rubber (RSS1 and 4) in Bangkok market is Rs 90 a kg and Rs 88, respectively. The landing cost of a kg of rubber from Bangkok costs nearly Rs 115, after accounting for 25% of import duty, insurance, and freight charges,” he clarified.
The association organized a seminar to address the concerns of Karnataka rubber growers. The seminar will be held on September 11, 11am at Jain Bhavan, Bypass Road, Puttur.