KOCHI: Given the recent surge in exports, the Indian Rubber Growers Association has urged the Commerce Ministry to formulate a scheme to promote them.
Sibi J Monippally, General Secretary, IRGA, told BusinessLine that rubber exports in December stood at nearly 3,000 tonnes against 640 tonnes in November and 645 tonnes during the period between April and December in the previous year.
Rising exports — especially in the wake of higher international rubber prices — will help India garner a major share in rubber exports.
According to him, the Central government had in 2002 extended an export incentive of ?3.50 a kg for rubber and during that period the country exported 55,000 tonnes. A similar initiative to this effect will boost exports and definitely encourage farmers to come back to rubber tapping at a time when demonetisation and the subsequent cash crunch hit the sector badly.
Even tyre manufacturing companies are now looking at the domestic market to source rubber due to the price difference with international rates. Today, the landing cost of international rubber stands at ?190 per kg, whereas the domestic price is ?140.
The association also submitted a representation to the visiting Parliamentary Standing Committee of the Commerce Ministry, requesting it to safeguard the interest of growers and the MSME sector, while entering into FTAs with ASEAN countries. Except India, all other rubber growing countries consume less than 10 per cent of domestic production. The government should allow imports only up to the requirement, he said.
Reiterating the need for a rubber policy, Monippally asked the Ministry to formulate a scheme to encourage re-plantation as growers are leaving tapping due to low prices. The Ministry should strengthen the Rubber Board and allocate resources for existing schemes and subsidies, he said.