India: Rubber farmers warn against cup lump imports


Natural growers are up in arms over the reported move to permit the to import rubber cup lumps.

Cup lumps are oxidised rubber, mostly contaminated with dirt and other extraneous material, and their import has been prohibited as a phytosanitary measure by .

The growers alleged that the present move has been mooted by the industry as a means to further reduce domestic rubber prices.

No quality standards

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Confirming the development, sources in the told BusinessLine that the Centre has constituted a committee to recommend quality standards for rubber cup lumps.

The Board had earlier taken a view that import of cup lumps could not be permitted because there are no quality standards fixed by either domestic or international agencies. The Association of Planters of Kerala () is also against the move saying that would spell doom for the crisis-ridden rubber sector and urged the government to desist from any such initiatives.

The planters’ body pointed out that import of unprocessed is not encouraged anywhere in the world — particularly if the same item is produced within the country.

India is already importing 45 per cent of its rubber requirement by way of processed TSR made from these cup lumps abroad and these is no reason for lumps to be imported in large quantities for processing in the country.

Bacterial actions

Raising apprehensions, Cyriac, former Chairman of the Rubber Board, said that rubber cup lumps are produced in unsanitary conditions in countries like and . The unsanitary conditions have been the breeding ground for all sorts of bacteria. At a time when the industry is demanding high quality , this import is unnecessary, he added.

He cited the destruction of whole plantations in Brazil, the home of rubber, due to spread of bacteria through a plantation disease, South American Leaf Blight. “It will be ruinous if India imports cup lumps and other similar materials without any processing,” Cyriac said.


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