Rubber farmers face fresh crisis as latex prices spiral


Rubber farmers in Thiruvananthapuram are facing a fresh crisis with a steep fall in latex price. With the price of the commodity falling from Rs 152 per kilo to Rs 130 within three weeks, the inclusion of latex in the state government’s subsidy programme, which ensures that farmers get Rs 150 per a kilo of rubber, is being mooted.

Latex was kept out of the scheme because it fetched a price of Rs 152 when the policy was formulated. Farmers’ representatives could not foresee such a steep slide in price. They had successfully lobbied for the inclusion of RSS 5 grade rubber in the programme, which was originally meant only for RSS 4.

The Rubber Board fixed Rs 107.8 for 60 % latex on Wednesday. Though this means latex is priced at Rs 144, traders bought it for as low as Rs 130 on Wednesday, anticipating a price fall in the next few days. Latex may be as cheap as RSS 4 in two weeks, trends in the markets indicate. About 4 lakh farmers in the state sell latex directly.

Rubber Board officials said registration for the subsidy programme was in full swing. As many as 1,500 rubber producers’ societies have been registered for the fixed-price scheme. About 700 societies are yet to join the scheme. Passwords have been allotted for most of the societies registered. The process of registration of farmers and providing Rubber Board recognition to them are progressing.

Farmers who have received Rubber Board recognition have started submitting bills to get subsidies. They will be provided subsidies for the rubber sold since July 4. Up to 300 kilos per hectare will be eligible for subsidy this month. The subsidy amount is fixed as the difference between Rs 150 and the price fixed by the Rubber Board on the billed date. The money will be debited to farmers’ bank accounts.

If producers’ societies submit bills online, the state Finance Department will transfer the subsidy amount within two weeks.

Rubber farmers who have not yet applied for the government aid can do so at the nearest producers’ societies. The application form and details are available on the website Rubber Board offices will provide the guidelines. – Manoramaonline