KOCHI,INDIA(Commodity Online): India’s long delayed national rubber policy is poised to take wings this week to tackle th edecling demand for natural rubber. The government-appointed special sub-committee will meet this week and a decision is likely to be taken on the rubber policy.
The panel is also likely to come up with measures to boost domestic demand and protect farmers from the steep fall in prices.
According to the state-run rubber board, India’s natural rubber production dropped 7.6 per cent to 844,000 tonne in the 2013-14 crop year which ended last March. In the first half of the year that started in April, the country’s output fell 2.3 per cent from a year ago to 337,000 tonne, while consumption rose by 3.6 per cent to 509,085 tonne.
The rubber board might be forced to revise down an earlier forecast that put production at 885,000 tonne this year. Rubber board officials said that Indian natural rubber output is likely to drop over 10 per cent in FY15 from the previous crop year, hit by heavy rain in key growing regions and as farmers suspend tapping due to lower prices.
India Rubber Board has recently said they are planning to explore the country’s North east states as there is no scope for further growth in Kerala which accounts for more than 90 per cent of the total natural rubber produced in India.
In Kerala, Rubber prices are languishing at five-year lows of Rs 121-Rs 122 per kg prompting many farmers in the state to leave tapping. Kerala Government has increased the support price for to Rs.5 a kg from Rs 2 per kg to procure more produce from the growers.
North-East state Tripura is the second largest rubber producing country after Kerala where 67,730 hectares of land are under rubber cultivation with an annual turnover of Rs 476 crore and the entire North-East including Tripura, Assam, Nagaland and Meghalaya produce 46,000 tonnes of rubber annually covering an area of about 103,500 hectares of land.
– Commodity Online