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RUBBER NEWS INDIA - ‘Prescribe norms for local raw cup lumps first’
(Last Updated: 10 Apr 2018)



‘Prescribe norms for local raw cup lumps first’

By Express News Service  |   Published: 06th April 2018 04:54 AM  |  

Last Updated: 06th April 2018 04:54 AM  |   A+A-   |  

KOCHI: The meeting called by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) in New Delhi on Thursday to prescribe a common quality standard for raw cup lumps - the residual lump formed from natural latex that coagulates in the cup after tapping is over - has met with strong opposition by the rubber growers’ representative and two other experts.

Following the stiff resistance, it was decided to conduct a detailed study to prescribe guidelines for the local raw cup lumps over a period of three years, it is learnt.Santhosh Kumar, vice-chairman of the Association of Latex Processors (Kerala), who attended the meeting in Delhi, told Express that he argued it was impossible to prescribe a common standard for the raw cup lumps as they are very often heavily contaminated with varying degrees of moisture and dirt, often harbouring microbes and disease-containing organisms.

Kumar was supported by Rubber Board joint director (crop physiology) Annamalai Nathan K, and Jayakumar, another participant.“We argued an expert committee should be appointed to study and prepare guidelines for arriving at a common standard for the local raw cup lumps,” said Kumar. Tyre manufacturers and other industry representatives were in favour of prescribing a common BIS standard, which will help them import the commodity.The meeting was chaired by Rubber Board secretary N Rajagopal.



Rubber growers against Centre’s move to fix quality standards for cup lump imports


The Indian Rubber Growers Association has urged the Commerce Ministry to desist from fixing standards for imported cup lumps, saying that it is anti-farmer and against the interest of rubber industry.

The move to fix standards and import of rubber cup lumps is unjustified since there is no standards with regard to its quality are available in the world, the association said in a memorandum to the Commerce Minister.

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

According to Siby J Monippally, General Secretary of the association, it is not possible to fix standards for cup lumps since it is a natural material with variations, hetrogeneties and contaminates.

Unlike RSS-4 and ISNR grades, he said cup lumps are not clean and it contains pathogens, disease carrying organisms. The import of this material will affect not only rubber but other crops too. It is pertinent to note that rubber cultivation in Brazil was wiped off due to import of inferior quality raw material, he said.

The Association of Planters of Kerala also opposed the move saying that India is already importing 45 per cent of its rubber requirement by way of processed TSR made from these cup lumps abroad.

Meanwhile, the first meeting of the joint task force — set up to study the problems faced by rubber farmers in Kerala — decided to work on increasing the production incentive for farmers and curbing rubber imports.

There were also discussions to consider rubber as an agricultural crop rather than a commercial produce, paving the way for declaration of minimum support price and financial support under the income doubling scheme for farmers.



Task force seeks import curbs on rubber

Meeting calls for Central support to prevent farmers from giving up rubber cultivation

The first meeting of the joint task force set up to study the problems faced by rubber farmers in Kerala has decided to work on increasing the production incentive for farmers and curbing the import of rubber.

The meeting chaired by Chief Secretary Paul Antony decided to convene a meeting of rubber farmers to understand their problems and come up with recommendations. It called for Central support to prevent farmers from giving up rubber cultivation due to high input costs and slump in prices.

One of the major items that came up for discussion was to consider rubber as an agricultural crop rather than a commercial produce, paving the way for declaration of minimum support price and financial support under the income doubling scheme for farmers.

State’s demand

State representatives on the task force highlighted the need to include rubber in the livelihood security box under trade treaties to protect the interests of the large number of small and marginal farmers in the sector. They called for a total ban on import of cup lump rubber, stringent standards for imported rubber and steps to prevent dumping of cheap rubber products.

The meeting discussed the need to revise the plantation subsidy, extend the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) to the plantation sector and promote the use of rubber as an additive for bitumen.

The Central government representatives who attended the meeting included the Joint Secretary, Commerce Ministry, and the Secretary and Director, Rubber Board. Apart from the Chief Secretary, Agriculture Production Commissioner Tikka Ram Meena was part of the contingent from the State. The Tripura Chief Secretary who is the co-chair of the task force did not turn up. Expressing satisfaction over the meeting, Agriculture Minister V.S. Sunil Kumar said the government would organise a consultation with farmers in April to collect inputs from them. He said the draft recommendations of the task force would be posted on the website of the Commerce Ministry to seek feedback and suggestions from the stakeholders.

The task force was set up following a meeting between Mr. Sunil Kumar and Union Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu last month.





National rubber policy in the making : Prabhu


Union Minister Suresh Prabhu   -  BusinessLine


Commerce Ministry is developing a national rubber policy to address various issues concerning the sector with a view to boost shipment and productivity, Union Minister Suresh Prabhu has said.

“This policy is necessary because there are so many challenges the sector is facing. We want to make sure that all issues are addressed through this policy. We have already had one meeting on this,” the commerce minister told PTI.

He said the aim of the proposed policy would be to boost export and production of rubber, “keeping in mind farmers’ interests“.

A task force comprising representatives of state and central governments has been constituted for suggesting short term-solutions and long-term strategies to address the issues, he added.

Major issues related to the sector include minimum support price for natural rubber, restriction on import, minimum import price, categorisation of natural rubber as an agricultural product, import of cup lumps, safeguard duty and increase in budget allocation to Rubber Board.

Import of natural rubber is allowed only through sea ports of Chennai and Jawaharlal Nehru Port at Nhava Sheva, Mumbai.

There are around 13.2 lakh rubber small holdings in the country, out of which around 9 lakh are in Kerala.

Consumption of natural rubber has increased from 9.95 lakh tonne in 2015-16 to 10.45 lakh tonne in 2016-17 mainly due to rise in demand from auto tyre sector.

Rubber production in 2016-17 was 6.91 lakh tonne as against consumption of 10.45 lakh tonne in tyre and non-tyre sectors.

Import of natural rubber has declined to 4.27 lakh tonne in 2016-17 from 4.58 lakh tonne in the previous fiscal. Export, on the other hand, jumped to 20,920 tonne in 2016-17 from 865 tonne in the previous fiscal.

Published on March 21, 2018











Rubber Board favours encouraging private entrepreneurship in sheet processing


Aimed at developing private entrepreneurship in sheet rubber processing, the Rubber Board has kick-started a series of workshops in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka in association with the National Institute of Agricultural Marketing, Jaipur, highlighting the need to improve the quality of sheet rubber.

It is pointed out that a number of growers are now shifting to latex sales rather than processing their produce into sheet rubber due to labour shortage. Besides, inconsistencies in the quality of rubber sheets is often attributed to heterogeneous processing techniques adopted by growers.

According to N. Rajagopal, Secretary, Rubber Board, the requirement for quality sheet rubber has gone up consequent to the radialisation of tyres. Though rubber producer societies have been producing good quality sheets, the volume handled by them is small. Hence, there is much scope for private entrepreneurs in this field.

As there is an increasing demand for sheet rubber, especially from the tyre industry, there is huge potential for sheet processors, who could collect the field latex on a daily basis for conversion to RSS grades. The sale of field latex on a daily basis to such sheet processors could fetch a better price for growers, as the price would be fixed on the basis of the daily price of sheet rubber, which is often higher than the price of ammoniated latex.

The board proposes to develop these enterprises in areas where Rubber Producer Societies and Group Processing Centres are not involved in field latex collection and processing. Sheet processing is an attractive venture for rubber dealers, who are mostly located in rubber growing areas. V.N. Krishnapillai, President of the Rubber Producer Society Kurumkanni, Kanjirappally, pointed out that growers could not justifiably demand any restriction on import of solid forms of rubber if they resorted to marketing their produce as latex.

Published on February 05, 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 replica watches 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.

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