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RUBBER NEWS INDIA - A Malaysian money-spinner idea for Kerala’s rubber plantations
(Last Updated: 07 Feb 2018)



A Malaysian money-spinner idea for Kerala’s rubber plantations

ARAVINDAN Updated on February 06, 2018


Even after the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) decided to enhance the oil prices, it could not help in lifting the rubber prices in India as anticipated by the growing community here. Usually, rubber prices go in tandem with oil prices.

Spot rubber prices continue to slide and on February 2, RSS 4 was traded at 123 a kg, but even then there are no takers. On the futures too, prices remain subdued. The relatively low price is the main reason for the decline in production and productivity. Unfavourable weather and the forecast that there will not be any change in coming months is adding to the growers’ woes. This year, Kerala government has not disbursed any amount so far towards subsidy under the Rubber Production Incentive Scheme.

Against this backdrop, a Malaysian experiment to make more money from plantations appears to be relevant. A study by a Malaysian research institute revealed that poultry manure mixed with soil in rubber plantations enhances the fertility of the soil and destroys the weeds. The most important finding of the study is that rubber would reach tappable girth one and a half years ahead. Simultaneously, the productivity also increases in plantations. For open rearing in our plantations besides country fowls, disease-resistant varieties such as Kadakknath, goose, etc are also used.

”If the Rubber Board and Kerala State Animal Husbandry Department join with Rubber Producers Societies in promoting free ranch poultry rearing, it will be an added income for the small growers,” said KK Ramachandran Pillai, though retired from Rubber Board, still continuing extension activities on various aspects of natural rubber production.

Published on February 06, 2018


India: Rubber farmers warn against cup lump imports


Natural rubber growers are up in arms over the reported move to permit the  industry to import rubber cup lumps.

Cup lumps are oxidised rubber, mostly contaminated with dirt and other extraneous material, and their import has been prohibited as a phytosanitary measure by .

The growers alleged that the present move has been mooted by the industry as a means to further reduce domestic .

No quality standards


Confirming the development, sources in the  told BusinessLine that the Centre has constituted a committee to recommend quality standards for rubber cup lumps.

The Board had earlier taken a view that import of cup lumps could not be permitted because there are no quality standards fixed by either domestic or international agencies. The Association of Planters of Kerala (APK) is also against the move saying that it would spell doom for the crisis-ridden rubber sector and urged the government to desist from any such initiatives.

The planters’ body pointed out that import of unprocessed raw materials is not encouraged anywhere in the world — particularly if the same item is produced within the country.

India is already importing 45 per cent of its rubber requirement by way of processed TSR made from these cup lumps abroad and these is no reason for lumps to be imported in large quantities for processing in the country.

Bacterial actions

Raising apprehensions,  Cyriac, former Chairman of the Rubber Board, said that rubber cup lumps are produced in unsanitary conditions in countries like Thailand and . The unsanitary conditions have been the breeding ground for all sorts of bacteria. At a time when the industry is demanding high quality rubber sheets, this import is unnecessary, he added.

He cited the destruction of whole plantations in Brazil, the home of rubber, due to spread of bacteria through a plantation disease, South American Leaf Blight. “It will be ruinous if India imports cup lumps and other similar materials without any processing,” Cyriac said.



Volatile prices, climate change sap rubber industry’s prospects

The year 2017 has not brought any cheer to the rubber industry as troubles such as price crash and production loss due to climate change continue to haunt the 10-lakh odd growers especially in the small and medium segment.

As the prices are still hovering at ₹120-130/kg for the RSS-4 grade, rubber is increasingly proving to be an unviable option prompting many farmers to switch to more remunerative crops such as cocoa or cashew.

“In fact, the unremunerative prices have put the majority of the growers in dire straits, forcing them either to abandon tapping or utilise the land for other purposes. There has been a output drop of 25 per cent even though the period between October and December is considered the peak production time,” said Shajimon Jose of Chirakkadavu Rubber Producers Society, Kottayam.

“With such low prices, it is difficult for growers to come back to production activities as most plantations require manuring, weeding, etc., before tapping gains momentum,” he said.

The stock availability in the market is limited, as growers are holding back in anticipation of better prices next year. This has even affected centrifuged rubber production due to unavailability of latex.

Price volatility

Rubber Board officials point out that the prices improved from November 2016 owing to a host of factors including the rise in crude price, improved US economic outlook, and supply concerns due to floods in Thailand. However, international and domestic prices have been trending low from April this year. July witnessed a recovery, with domestic prices crossing ₹140/kg but they retreated towards the month end. Thereafter, domestic prices moved sideways with some degree of volatility.

The uptrend in production continued with 5.7 per cent growth during April-August over the corresponding period ofl ast year. The projected production in 2017-18 is 8 lakh tonnes — a growth of 16 per cent over last year, the officials said, adding that the initiatives to enhance productivity and bring more area under tapping are on.

According to PC Cyriac, President, Indian Farmers Movement (Infam), growers have been left in the lurch in the wake of their protest against the discriminatory attitude of the government. The government, according to him, has not only not levied safeguard duty on tyre companies for imports but has actually given them anti-dumping duty benefits.

The only hope for farmers is the incentive scheme announced by the Kerala government at ₹150/kg even though it is yet to gain momentum due to cash crunch, he added.

Tackling climate change

According to the scientific community, the temperature is already at the end of the upper threshold in Kerala and the rising temperature in growing areas is harmful to the crop and is affecting the yield. “Every new summer is hotter than the previous season,” remarked an official in the research community.

The Board is, therefore, focussing on climate-resilient clones on which research has already started. Besides, there is a need for evolving a new kind of agro-based home-stead system of inter-cropping or mixed cropping that will give a comfort level for changes in climatic conditions.


Punjab government – Govind Rubber signs Rs 5,000 crore pact

 CHANDIGARH: In a major boost to its industrial development and investment plans, the Punjab government has signed a  5,000 crore pact with -based Govind Rubber Limited.

Punjab government - Govind Rubber signs Rs 5,000 crore pact

The new plant will cater to the demand for  and tubes across all the sectors-from bicycles to automobiles, as well as heavy earth moving machinery.

The MoU was signed by the company\’s chairman Vinod Poddar and Punjab Bureau of Investment Promotion CEO and Secretary Industries and Commerce, Punjab, R K Verma here today.


The MoU envisages the establishment of new tyres and tubes manufacturing plant, to be set up in two phases over 250 acres.

The first phase will be completed by December 2018 at Rs 3,000 crore, an official spokesperson said, adding Poddar Group had vast experience in the  and was already running a unit in Ludhiana for the past two decades.

The project would yield employment opportunities for more than 3,500 people, while giving a fillip to the state\’s industrial development, said the spokesperson, describing  as an outcome of the Chief Minister\’s Mumbai visits to woo captains of industry and the government\’s new industrial policy, with its provisions aimed at creating an industry-friendly environment in the state.

The new plant will cater to the demand for tyres and tubes across all the sectors-from bicycles to automobiles, as well as heavy earth moving machinery.

The plant will be set up with state-of-art technology and shall have 300 robots to manage the manufacturing process, which shall be highly environment friendly with no air or water pollution, the company\’s chairman stated.

He further disclosed that this will be the first plant in  deploying such a large number of robotic processes in manufacturing.

Verma assured Poddar that the state government shall facilitate speedy implementation of the project and all assistance would be provided in securing approvals and financial incentives in a time-bound manner.

Cut rubber production cost:


Minister says due to trade pacts imposing dumping duty is unrealistic

Union Minister of State for Tourism and IT K.J. Alphons has said the key to overcome the present crisis in the rubber plantation sector lay in finding strategies to cut down on the cost of production and increase natural rubber consumption.

Speaking to the stakeholders at a brainstorming session organised by the Rubber Board at the Rubber Research Institute of India at Puthuppally, near here, on Saturday, Mr. Alphons pointed out that most of the remedial demands being made were unrealistic and impractical. The demands being made, like imposing dumping duty or putting an end to imports, were unrealistic under the various trade agreements entered into. One of the ways to reduce cost of production was exploring the possibility of extending the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme to (MGNREGS) rubber plantation related works. He asked the Rubber Board to send a report on the issue to him so that he could take it up with the authorities concerned.

‘Safeguard duty’

Meanwhile, former Rubber Board chairman P.C. Cyriac, said the Central government could impose a ‘safeguard duty’ on rubber imports as per the provisions of international trade agreements. He alleged that a demand for imposition of the safeguard duty had been hanging fire following technical reasons.

Mr. Alphons pointed out that imposition of the safeguard duty would result in a steep increase in the import of tyre.

According to him, he too came from a rubber growing area of the State and was convinced that earnings from the rubber plantations were crucial for the economic security of the State.

Road rubberisation

As part of increasing the consumption of natural rubber, the Surface Transport Ministry would be approached seeking use of natural rubber in the road rubberisation initiative while developing new highway networks.

Another suggestion came up during the interaction was that rubberwood and rubberwood products and the Rubber Producer Societies (RPS) be exempted from GST registration.

Another major demand, that the Central government should come up with a clear national rubber policy, would be taken up with the Ministry of Commerce, he said.

Demands like ploughing back a share of the rubber import duty to the rubber plantation sector, promotion for farm tourism, increase in subsidy for rubber replanting, and establishment of welfare board for tappers, were also raised during the session.

Rubber Board executive director A. Ajith Kumar, secretary N. Rajagopal, and board members were present during the interaction in which selected farmers, representatives of the RPS and other organisations functioning in the Natural Rubber sector participated.


Frame rubber policy at the earliest: Par panel asks Comm Min

 New Delhi, Aug 2 – A parliamentary panel has again recommended the commerce ministry to frame a national  policy at the “earliest” to promote the sector.

 is a strategic industrial raw material and  can not be put on the same footing as other plantation crops, the action taken report tabled in the Rajya Sabha said today.

The committee is of the “considered opinion that the national rubber policy may be framed at the earliest,” the action taken report on issues related to the commerce ministry said.

Earlier also, the committee had recommended for the rubber policy.

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