INFAM (Indian Farmers Movement) has urged the Centre to formulate a national policy for road rubberisation scheme, at least in national highways, to enhance internal consumption of natural rubber.
A move in this regard would benefit lakhs of rubber farmers in the country, who are facing a crisis because of the continuous fall in rubber prices.
According to INFAM, the present crisis in the sector is the result of manipulations that affect more than 12 lakh families, most of them in Kerala, dependent on rubber cultivation.
INFAM requested the Commerce Ministry to fix the minimum price of rubber at ₹180 a kg, considering the escalation in cost of production, and to implement total ban on imports at least for one year. The minimum support price was fixed in 1998 following Supreme Court directives.
It urged the government to direct the Rubber Board for procurement of at least one lakh tonnes of rubber from the market at ₹180 a kg. There were also suggestions to restrict imports as ‘requirement specific’ and increase the import duty to 40 per cent of the price.
INFAM pointed out that the government had taken several effective measures during 2002-03 periods when farmers faced a similar situation. Such measures are needed now to save the rubber sector from further crisis, it added.
– The Hindu