Fall in prices of rubber stretches growers' patience

Fall in prices of rubber stretches growers' patience

The rubber planters have sought assistance from State government as rubber prices have plummeted in the international market. The rate of rubber has come down to Rs 88 per kg. After adding import duty of 25 per cent, it  will be available in the country for Rs 110 per kg.

Locally, the production cost of rubber is Rs 140 per kg and from last year, the growers have been carrying out rubber tapping by incurring loss. If there is no progress, the growers may have to completely stop rubber tapping.

A lot of agriculturists have been cultivating rubber in many villages of Sullia, Puttur and Belthangady taluks in Dakshina Kannada district. It was also considered a status symbol to own a rubber plantation, but now, it is no more a matter of prestige as the prices have fallen. In Karnataka, rubber is grown in 60,000 hectares and 50 per cent of it is produced in Dakshina Kannada district alone. If the tapping is stopped for a year, it will adversely effect the trees as the production of rubber milk will decrease the following year.

Almost all the growers have decided to stop rubber tapping if the rates come down to Rs 100 per kg. As many as 10,000 workers are involved in tapping rubber in Sullia taluk alone. If the tapping is stopped, around one lakh people who are dependent on rubber crop, will be severely affected.

After many growers have already stopped rubber tapping, the production of rubber has decreased approximately by two lakh metric tonnes in the nation. At present, 25,000 metric tonnes of rubber is being produced in the State, in the place of 35,000 metric tonnes.

The lowest rate of rubber was recorded in 1998 when the market price was Rs 30 per kg. In 2012, it reached Rs 240. Today, the rate is Rs 110 per kg.

Rubber Growers Cooperative Society (Guttigaru) president Nithyananda Mundodi said the increase in the production of rubber is one of the main reasons for the decrease in the rates.

Aroung 70 per cent of the nation’s requirement is grown in the nation and the rest 30 per cent is imported, Nithyanand said.

A delegation of the rubber growers, led by MP has met Union Minister for Commerce Nirmala Sitharaman and has submitted a memorandum, requesting to increase th import duty.

Also, a delegation comprising rubber growers from Dakshina Kannada, Shivamogga and Chikkamagaluru districts, under the leadership of the district in-charge ministers of the respective districts, will meet chief minister on September 3. The growers will request the CM to provide subsidy for rubber crop, like in Kerala, Mundodi said.

He further said that if some rules were relaxed while providing subsidies, government would also be benefitted. Most of the rubber is being sold without taxes and if subsidy is provided, the sale could be done through rubber co-operative societies and the government will benefit in terms of more taxes. Also, the exact number of the rubber growers could be known, he added.

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