December 10, 2015
The United Planters Association of Southern India (UPASI) has expressed deep concerns over the minus 21 percent growth rate in rubber production in India.
According to UPASI’s president, N. Dharmaraj, the projected production of rubber in India for 2015-16 is below six lakh tons, mainly due to low prices and high cost of production when compared to other countries. Many cultivators are now abandoning rubber plantations due to the losses incurred. He was speaking at a stakeholders meeting held in Kochi yesterday to discuss the crisis in the rubber sector.
The slump had started much earlier. In 2014-15, 76 percent of the total production was imported. At the end of October 2015, growers had stocks of mere 66,000 tonnes. The number is pathetically low considering the fact that there are 12 lakh growers involved. But, dealers and manufacturers had 1.62 lakh tonnes in possession.
Stating that the dwindling production will not only affect the income of the rubber cultivators, but also lead to higher imports, he welcomed the government’s decision to impose a maximum bound import duty of 25 percent. He also demanded that the government impose import safeguards to prevent further slump in the prices, adding that the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce on Rubber Industry in be implemented in its entirety.