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Thursday, December 9, 2021

India: MP urges commerce minister to ban import of natural rubber

MANGALURU: Dakshina Kannada MP Nalin Kumar Kateel has urged union minister of state for commerce and industry Nirmala Sitharaman to consider banning import of natural rubber and address other issues of rubber growers. Rubber Board’s statistics reveal there is shortage of 50,000-60,000 tonnes of natural rubber production in India against industrial requirement of the country. At the same time, price of natural rubber has dipped by 1/3 compared to 2012 prices.

Presenting a copy of the memorandum of Karnataka State Rubber Cultivators’ Hitharakshana Vedike to the minister in New Delhi, Nalin said the vedike has sought immediate government action to refit the minimum price of RSS 4 rubber at Rs 180/kg considering the cost of escalation of cost in production. The vedike said 85% of natural rubber is produced by marginal, medium and small farmers and the extent of land owned by them varies from 10 cents to 2 acres.

Noting that farmers in the state are facing a grave situation owing to steep price fall, Nalin said the predominant reason for this is the huge volume of import of natural rubber in to the domestic market. Nalin also sough urgent financial aid to the rubber sector to the tune of Rs 900 crore from the Price Stabilisation Fund of the union government to the rubber sector, which he said is essential to rescue the rubber growing farmers not only in Karnataka but also Kerala.

Import duty should be increased to 40% of the price and import should be through select ports. Strict checks should be implement to make sure that rubber below RSS 4 quality is not imported. Natural rubber import should be restricted as requirement specific as certified by the Board rather than distorting price structure or manipulation of domestic market. Board should procure at least 1 lakh TEU rubber at Rs 180/kg as immediate arrangement to save growers in distress.

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