The Kerala government today has decided to raise thesupport price of natural rubber. It was decided to increase the support price by Rs 5 a kg to Rs 176, the rate at which the state government would be procuring from farmers.
The Cabinet also decided to send a team of ministers, led by chief minister Oommen Chandy, to detail the serious issues being faced by natural rubber growers in the state, to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The state government today sought Centre’s financial support for rubber growers in the state, as the price had halved to Rs 122 a kg now, from Rs 240 per kg seen in 2011.
In February, Chandy announced the state’s procurement of rubber in order to stabilise prices in the open market. The state had earmarked Rs 10 crore for the market intervention operations in the last Budget. However, despite these measures, prices crashed to lower levels.
The Kerala government also had promised to procure rubber at Rs 171 per kg, which is the average price of benchmark RSS-4 grade in the last three years.
It had entrusted three procurement agencies — Kerala State Co-operative Rubber Marketing Federation (Rubber Mark), State Co-operative Marketing Federation (Marketfed) and RPS (Rubber Producers Societies)– for the purpose.
The procurement process began from March 4. In the initial days, the procurement had helped raise the market price from Rs 147 to Rs 160 in during the month.
“To cover the production cost, the growers would need at least Rs 169 a kg,” said Siby Monipally, general secretary of Indian Rubber Growers’ Association (IRGA).
However, as the poll atmosphere thickened and the fund allotment dwindled, the procurement activity fizzled out. It is reported that procurement had almost stopped across the state and the total volume procured so far was below 200 tonne.
The state had applied to Centre to utilise funds from the latter’s Rs 100-crore price stabilisation corpus for rubber.
Though the production of rubber dropped drastically during Jun–Sept in the current financial year, there is no improvement on its prices.