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India: Upasi welcomes move to formulate national rubber policy

The United Planters’ Association of Southern India (Upasi) has welcomed the move to formulate a national rubber policy.

Peter Mathias, President, Upasi, said: “We are of the view that the Rubber Board, an institution enacted by the law of Parliament, comprising stakeholders representing all segments could have been the appropriate entity entrusted with the formulation of a national rubber policy.”

“The current state of affairs in natural rubber sector, with prices on a free fall, there is no doubt on the need for a comprehensive review of the issues that confront the rubber sector such as cultivation, production, processing, sale, availability and the whole gambit of issues in the value chain,” he added.

Upasi is of the view that any policy formulation should be inclusive by addressing the real concerns of the sector, which comprise more than a million natural rubber growers, 6,000 micro, small and medium rubber manufacturing units and a few tyre manufacturers in the country.

Price crisis

According to Mathias, the main concern for the million plus rubber growers is the serious price crisis as they are solely dependent on rubber for their livelihood.

Natural rubber prices (RSS IV), after reaching a high at Rs 243 per Kg in April 2011, has registered a sharp decline since then. The latest available price for May 2014 at Rs143.50 per kg highlight the magnitude of the crisis in the sector.

If the price decline continues unabated, majority of the growers will be forced either to abandon rubber cultivation or switch over to other activity.

– The Hindu

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