India: Rubber growers seek import curbs

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Rubber growers, under the leadership of the Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative (Campco) Ltd, have urged the Union Commerce Minister to save the growers in the country from cheap imports.

SR Satishchandra, President of the Campco, said that a delegation of rubber growers met the Commerce Minister, Suresh Prabhu, in New Delhi on Tuesday, and briefed him on the implications of rubber imports on small and marginal growers.

Stating that natural rubber is available at cheaper rates abroad, he said the prices of Indian natural rubber have crashed.

Rubber, which was selling between ₹175 and ₹240 a kg during 2012-13, is now fetching around ₹125 a kg. The price, which is below the cost of cultivation, has upset growers, especially the marginal and small farmers, he said.

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Some of the suggestions submitted by the delegation included increasing the import duty on rubber and fixing a minimum tariff value for imports. The customs duty on rubber import should be increased from the current slab of 25 per cent to 70 per cent to curtail the import of rubber a lower cost.

Referring to arecanut and pepper, for which the Centre has fixed a minimum tariff value for imports, the delegation said such this should be done for imported rubber also.

The Government should fix a minimum support price for rubber based on the cost of production, and intervene in the market when needed.

Satishchandra said that the Minister was also informed about the need for declaring a national rubber policy.

Campco, which procures and markets rubber along with arecanut and cocoa, procured 2,313 tonnes of rubber during 2016-17 as against 1,328 tonnes in 2015-16.

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