Rubber Board offers to adopt untapped plantations

Rubber Board Executive Director Dr K N Raghavan speaks at rubber growers’ meeting, organised by All Karnataka Rubber Planters’ Association, at SCDCC Bank Hall in Mangaluru on Friday. DH PHoto

With rubber growers staying away from tapping (latex collection) owing to crash in rubber prices coupled with high cost of production, Rubber Board has offered to adopt the untapped plantations, Rubber Board Executive Director Dr K N Raghavan said.

“The tapping will be carried out in untapped plantations with the help of Rubber Producers’ Societies (RPS) and companies under them,” Dr Raghavan said while addressing the gathering at the rubber growers’ meeting, organised by All Karnataka Rubber Planters’ Association (KRUPA), in SCDCC Hall on Friday.

The income fetched from the sale of rubber will be credited to the account of the growers after deducting the operational cost. If the growers find it difficult to tap, then they can approach the Rubber Board, he added.

The natural rubber consumption was 12.11 lakh tonnes in 2018-19 and actual domestic production was only 6.50 lakh tonnes, Dr Raghavan said and emphasised on the need to increase the production in order to meet the demand and reduce import.

The Rubber Board will pursue the issue of minimum support price for growers with Karnataka government and Centre to ensure that growers get a fair price for their produce.

Dr Raghavan urged growers to reduce the cost of production and improve productivity. He shared tips like tapping once a week to reduce the cost.

Rubber Producers Society can develop tappers’ bank in order to overcome the shortage of labourers.

Rubber board also had approached tyre manufacturing companies to provide assistance in the form of medical aid and scholarship for the children of the tappers.

Interaction

Later, Dr Raghavan also took part in the interaction with growers. On the apprehension over India signing Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a proposed free trade agreement, Dr Raghavan said that natural rubber was kept out of the purview of all the free trade agreement in the past.

The Rubber Board has also recommended to the Centre on ensuring that natural rubber was not included in the RCEP. Any measures to include it under the RCEP will affect 13.2 lakh growers who are dependent on rubber for their livelihood, he added.

Dr Raghavan said the rubber had a bright future and the market was likely to grow in the future.

SCDCC Bank Chairman M N Rajendra Kumar urged Centre not to sign the RCEP, which will have a huge impact on the farmers.

Sridhar Bhide of Belthangady Taluk Rubber Growers’ Marketing and Processing Cooperative Limited said that elected representatives lacked the political will to help the rubber growers. A convention of the rubber growers will be held in Ujire in November, he added.

Col Nitteguthu Sharath Bhandary, president, All Karnataka Rubber Planters’ Association (KRUPA), said with the decline in financial outlay for the Rubber Board, various schemes are no longer available for the growers.

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