The Rubber Board has initiated measures to firm up production of sheet rubber and tide over the shortage of the commodity in the domestic market.
The Rubber Board is implementing a scheme to compensate farmers for the difference in prices between field latex and sheet rubber of RSS-4 grades, whenever the prices of former reigns higher, to a maximum of ₹2 per kg. The scheme will be available to farmers who sell their sheet rubber directly to Rubber Producer Societies or Rubber Board companies, subject to a limit of ₹5,000 per individual farmer.
The scheme will be operational for three months between December 1 and February 28, 2022. Verifications will be done by the field staff of Rubber Board and the compensation amount will be transferred directly to the bank accounts of farmers, KN Raghavan, Executive Director, Rubber Board said.
“This will also benefit rubber farmers who can capitalise on the high prices prevailing in the domestic market, in addition to the amounts disbursed under the scheme”, he said.
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He pointed out that a huge shift from sheet rubber to field latex does not augur well for the farming community as shortage of sheet rubber would prompt large scale imports of rubber. This could lead to drop in prices of all forms of rubber and needs to be avoided. Hence, there exists a requirement to offer an incentive to farmers to process field latex into sheet rubber on a more regular consistent basis, so as to meet the requirements of the consuming industry.
According to Raghavan, continuous heavy rains that lashed Kerala has affected rubber production adversely and created a shortage of sheet rubber in the domestic market. Though production was on an upward trend this year till September and prices are also on high, the adverse weather conditions have proved to be dampener with regard to production.
Though production of total quantum of natural rubber was more this year when compared to the last two years, the production of sheet rubber has not kept pace with this. In fact, the production of sheet rubber in the first half of the current financial year was 2.5 per cent less than what was produced during the corresponding period of 2019-20.
This is on account of increased production of latex due to prevailing higher prices in the market for field latex. The processing of field latex to sheet rubber consumes time, effort and money-making farmers are reluctant to carry out this task unless they get a higher price for sheet rubber, he said.
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