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RUBBER BOARD NEWS: Rubber sector facing challenging times ahead
(Last Updated: 06 Nov 2019)

 

 

 

Rubber sector facing challenging times ahead

Aravindan  | Updated on November 05, 2019  Published on November 05, 2019
 

Nearly 60,000 rubber growers in Karnataka have taken up cultivation on around 55,000 hectares in the State   -  THE HINDU

 

The outlook is not that much optimistic now for both rubber producing and consuming sectors according to Dr. Sawar Dhanania, Chairman, Rubber Board. He was delivering the presidential address at the 179th meeting of the Rubber Board held in Kottayam. The economy world-wide is passing through difficult times and the economic horizon is overcast with uncertainties adversely affecting investor sentiments and consumer confidence. This would have its downbeat effect on all economic and industrial sectors. There could be volatility in natural rubber (NR) market due to weather conditions, currency movements, oil price variations, speculative factors. However, the expectation that developing and emerging economies would recover and would be in a sustained growth path is a consoling factor, he added.

According to Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC) world NR production and consumption during the first half of 2019 amounted to 5.85 million tonnes and 6.93 million tonnes respectively, with a deficit of 1.08 million tonnes mainly due to the decrease in production in major producing countries like Thailand, Indonesia and China. Global supply of NR in 2019 is anticipated at 13.81 million tonnes, with a decline of 0.5%.

According to IRSG, synthetic rubber production and consumption during the first half of 2019 remained almost the same as the corresponding period of last year at 7.60 million tonnes and 7.70 million tonnes respectively. This is mainly due to the decline in car production and sales all over the world. Consumption of SR in 2020 is projected to grow by 1.9%, Chairman informed the Board.

Dr. K. N. Raghavan IRS, Executive Director, Rubber Board presented a report on current domestic status of NR. NR production during April-September 2019 was 3.08 lakh tonnes with an increase of 11.2% as compared to the same period last year. The improvement in production was mainly due to the efforts taken by the Board to bring more untapped areas into tapping through adoption of holdings and rainguarding. So far, 2,800 ha of untapped area have been brought under tapping through adoption. Total area rainguarded during 2019-20 comes to 2.5 lakh ha with an increase of 40,000 ha compared to last year.

The production in 2018-19 was 6.51 lakh tonnes, a negative growth of 6.2% as compared to a slight positive growth of 0.4% in 2017-18. The projection of NR production for 2019-20 is revised to 7.30 lakh tonnes. Consumption of NR decreased during April-September 2019 by 7.6% as compared to April- September 2018. During this period, consumption of NR declined from 6,14,040 tonnes in 2018 to 5,67,120 tonnes. Consumption of NR is projected at 11,40,000 tonnes in 2019-20.

Import of NR decreased during April-September 2019 by 13.9% as compared to the same period in previous year and 73% of the import was through duty paid channel. 82.6% of import of NR during April-September 2019 was in the form of block rubber. Import of NR during April- September 2019 is provisionally estimated as 2,57, 943 tonnes. Projection of import of NR in 2019-20 is revised downwards from 5 lakh tonnes to 4.15 lakh tonnes. The stock of NR at the end of September 2019 was 2.96 lakh tonnes.

 
Published on November 05, 2019
 
 

 

Rubber Board hopeful of rubber being kept out of RCEP purview

A top official of the Rubber Board is hopeful that the crop will be kept out of the purview of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement.

Replying to the queries of rubber growers on RCEP’s impact on the crop at a meeting organised by the Karnataka Rubber Planters’ Association (KRUPA) here on Friday, KN Raghavan, Executive Director of the Rubber Board, said natural rubber has been kept out of the purview of all trade agreements till now.

Noting that natural rubber attracts an import duty of 25 per cent, he said the Rubber Board has been asking the government to ensure that the crop is kept outside the purview of the RCEP.

 

Quoting the example of the ASEAN agreement, he said four major rubber-growing countries — Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia — are part of it. There was sufficient pressure to bring rubber under the purview of the ASEAN deal when it was signed. But the Indian government did not succumb to it.

The RCEP negotiation is not in the public domain and therefore nothing can be ascertained, he observed. “But the stand that has been consistently taken is that any measure that includes rubber will cause a lot of financial strain and even penury for 13.2 lakh rubber farmers who depend on this crop. That is very clearly brought to the notice of the government. I am sure that the government will consider that,” he said.

Stating that the negotiators from India always ensured that rubber remained outside the purview of talks, he said: “We are confident that this time also it will be so. So far there has not been any problem on that front. I would say — don’t worry about that right now.”

KRUPA’s demand

Referring to the demand of the Karnataka Rubber Planters Association (KRUPA) to extend minimum support price for rubber growers in Karnataka, Raghavan said the Board will try to follow it up with the Karnataka and Central governments. Though the Board had made an effort earlier in this regard, it did not materialise. “We will again take up this matter with the government,” he said.

 
Published on October 18, 2019

 

 
 

 

 

Rubber Board launches mobile app for daily rubber prices

 

Rubber Board’s Rubber Trade Info app is available on Google Play

The Rubber Board has launched a new mobile application, ‘Rubber Trade Info’, to collect natural rubber (NR) prices everyday.

The objective is to upgrade the present price collection system and increase the data source. The strengthening of data source will increase the precision of price collection in the future, said a Rubber Board release. The Board has developed the mobile app for the Android platform with the help of the National Informatics Centre, it added.

Since 1970, the Board has been collecting NR price from the data sources of dealers, processors, manufacturers, brokers and agents from the Kottayam and Kochi markets. The published price is an indicative/benchmark price that different stakeholders in the NR supply chain can use. The NR value chain, comprising growers, rubber production societies (RPSs), dealers, processors, manufacturers and policy makers, uses daily price information for arriving at sale and purchase decisions.

 

 

 

Rubber growers can seek information on the adoption of rubber plantations and Tapper Banks, from Rubber Board Call Centre from 10 am to 1 pm on August 21, 2019. E.V. Rajeevan, Development Officer, Rubber Board will answer the queries from rubber growers on 0481 – 2576622.

New Rubber Board Chairman

 

Sawar Dhanania took charge as Chairman of the Rubber Board on Monday. He has been a member of the Rubber Board since May 2017. Dhanania did his master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Jadavpur University, Kolkata, and took Ph D in rubber technology from IIT, Kharagpur. He took up his family business of manufacturing rubber goods for supplying to the Indian Railways and later started manufacturing bicycle and rickshaw tyres. He has co-authored many papers in peer reviewed journals.

 

"Rubber" magazine is a monthly publication of the Rubber Board of India, in regional language.The target audience is the rubber farming community. This is part of the extension activities for keeping rubber farmers updated with scientific practices. The magazine reaches around 100,000 farmers every month.

 
 
 

 

Rubber Board hopeful output to improve; consumption up 9 per cent

Import of NR shot up 24% in 2018-2019. About 70% of this was through the duty-paid channel and 81% was in block rubber form.

The Rubber Board is hopeful that the domestic production of natural rubber (NR) will improve in the current fiscal. The consumption of the commodity went up 9% during the last fiscal while the production had been below expected levels.

The consumption of NR has increased from 11,12,210 tonne in 2017-18 to 12,11,940 tonne in 2018-19, according to the board. However, NR production in the last fiscal had been below expected levels, admits KN Raghavan, chairman and executive director, Rubber Board of India.
“This was due to excessive rain and floods, and consequent high-level of incidence of abnormal leaf fall disease.” Raghavan was delivering the presidential address in the 178th meeting of the rubber board in Kottayam on Friday.

A new high-yielding, cold and disease tolerant hybrid clone — RRII 429 — had been ready for commercial cultivation in Northeast states after completing the mandatory field tests, chairman said. According to provisional estimates, NR production in 2018-2019 was 648,000 tonne, which is 6.6% lower than that in the previous fiscal.

“NR production for the current fiscal is projected at 750,000 tonne, taking into consideration the increase in tappable area from 640,000 hectare in 2018-19 to 665,000 ha in 2019-20, measures that the rubber board is taking to buoy rubber production and the continuation of RPIS (Rubber Production Incentive Scheme) in Kerala in 2019-2020,” Raghavan said.

 

 

Dr. K.N. Raghavan IRS took over charge as the Executive Director of the Rubber Board.    He was working as Principal Commissioner of GST and Central Excise, Mumbai Central. 

Dr. Raghavan, a native of Kochi, completed his MBBS from Calicut Medical College in 1988. He joined Indian Revenue Service in the year 1990.    He served the Government in various capacities which include Commissioner of Customs Kochi, Deputy Director, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Calicut; Managing Director of Kerala Co-operative Rubber Marketing Federation; CEO, Co-operative Medical College, Kochi and CEO of NORKA ROOTS.  He was First Secretary (Commerce) in High Commission of India, Singapore.  He was also an international cricket umpire and authored several books in the field of cricket, history etc.

 

Rubber sector seeks govt help

Our BureStakeholders in the rubber value chain have sought urgent intervention by the Union Commerce Minister for the grant of an additional fund of 50 crore to the Rubber Board in the current fiscal itself considering the financial crisis being faced by the Board.

Representatives from the growing, processing, manufacturing and trade sections pointed out that small growers, who account for more than 90 per cent and of growers depend on small rubber holdings as their lone source of income, have been adversely affected by the financial crisis in the Board, especially due to the accumulation of replanting arrears.

In a representation to Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu, they pointed out that planting subsidy arrears totalling 25 crore have been processed but could not be disbursed due to lack of funds. The emerging situation has is creating a lot of hardship for growers, who are already in a crisis triggered by the fall in rubber prices.

 

Sibi J Monipally, representing the Indian Rubber Growers Association and a member of the Rubber Board, said that the present financial crisis was the result of a sharp reduction in the outlay of the board year after year.

The Rubber Board had planned its activities over the years based on the approved outlay and the shortage in allotment has not only affected the board’s functioning but also stakeholders in the sector, who look to the board for guidance, he added.

The other stakeholders are Upasi, ATMA, Latex Processors of India, and the Indian Rubber Dealers Federation.au  Kochi | Updated on March 28, 2019  Published on March 28, 2019
 

Govt reducing support for Tea Board

Government support for the Tea Board of India is shrinking, with total allocation being approximately 250 crore, an official said.

“The Tea Board is working under the backdrop of shrinking government financial support. The Board also labours under the burden of high administrative costs, with more than 70 crore per year being spent on employees and maintenance of infrastructure, out of a total allocation of approximately 250 crore,” non-executive chairman of the board PK Bezbaruah told PTI.

Thus, he suggested, one of the focus areas of the Board over the next few years would be to reduce administrative costs by up to 10 crore per annum, while many cost-cutting initiatives are already on the anvil.

“In my opinion, the thrust areas of the Board relating to the tea industry should be on exports through incentivisation of exportable variants of tea, like orthodox, organic and speciality teas.”

The Board should attempt to get the incentive for production of such variants tripled from the present level, he said.

Increasing domestic consumption through generic promotion of tea should also be considered as a priority area, Bezbaruah, the second time non-executive chairman, said

(sounds familiar - RB too?)

Project Saamrath aims to train 10 lakh personnel

 The Rubber Skill Development Council (RSDC) has launched Project Saamrath, which is aimed at skilling, upskilling and reskilling 10 lakh personnel involved in the rubber sector, by 2020.

Over 10 lakh personnel are involved in NR (natural rubber) plantation work and the requirement of skilling is huge for increasing production and productivity.

The Council has joined hands with the Rubber Board in upskilling the growers. The Rubber Board has expertise in spearheading the skilling drive in NR plantations, said Vinod Simon, Chairman, RSDC.

The training is being provided under the Recognition of Prior Learning Scheme of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana across natural rubber plantations, tyre services and rubber manufacturing.

The training is provided for jobs such as Latex Harvest Technician (tapper), Rubber Nursery General Worker, Rubber Processing Technician—Rubber Sheeting and General Worker Rubber Plantation, among others .

Skilling of the tapper is important as an unskilled tapper may adversely impact the yield and damage the rubber tree. In Kerala many holdings are believed to have been left untapped owing to the shortage of skilled tappers.

 
Published on March 21, 2019

Dr K N Raghavan IRS is appointed as the Executive Director of Rubber Board, India. He has been working as Commissioner of GST and Central Excise, Mumbai Central.
Dr. Raghavan, a native of Kochi, completed his MBBS from Calicut Medical College in 1988. He joined Indian Revenue Service in 1990 and served the Government in various capacities which include Deputy Director, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Calicut, and as Managing Director of Kerala Co-operative Rubber Marketing Federation and CEO, Co-operative Medical College, Kochi.
He was First Secretary (Commerce) in High Commission of India, Singapore. He has authored several books in the field of cricket, history etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rubber Board develops Mobile App

 

KOTTAYAM, DECEMBER 5

The Rubber Board has developed a new Mobile App ‘Rubber Kisan’ for rubber growers. The application developed in association with National Informatics Centre (NIC) is available in Google Play Store. The daily price of natural rubber (NR), as well as weekly, monthly and yearly average price, is available in the App.

Apart from this, cultural practices to be adopted in rubber cultivation, information on the meetings and training programmes of the Board, news on rubber, addresses of Board’s offices etc. are also available in the App. The App can be downloaded from Google Play Store by typing ‘Rubber Kisan’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Task Force on Rubber Sector Stakeholder consultations

The Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India has constituted a Task force on Rubber Sector (TFRS), vide OM F.No. 15/19/2016-Plant C dated 8 March 2018.

Chief Secretaries of Kerala and Tripura are the Chairman and Co-chairman of the Task Force. Executive Director of Rubber Board is the Member, Convenor. Other members of the Task Force are Joint Secretary and Director in the Department of Commerce, Joint Secretary in the DIPP and one each official from the state governments of Tripura and Kerala. Dr A. K. Krishnakumar, former Executive Director of IL&FS, Delhi is inducted into the Task Force as a technical expert.

The main mandate of the TFRS is to recommend short term solutions and long term strategies for mitigating the problems faced by rubber growers and suggest a policy on rubber taking into consideration the relevant provisions of the WTO Agreement and other trade commitments, general economic policy of Government of India, relevant Acts and Rules thereof, rubber industry value chain and welfare of stakeholders involved comprising growers, processors, end productmanufacturers, traders, workers and final consumers of rubber products.

The First Meeting of the Task Force was held at Thiruvananthapuram on 23 March 2018. One of the decisions in the meeting was to collect inputs from all stakeholders connected to rubber industry value chain. Stakeholders are requested to furnish views/comments/suggestions on the issues listed below.

Some of the issues already raised by stakeholders have been reflected as bullet points. They are only indicative and not exhaustive. Inputs may be sent by email to anita.karn@nic.in , ms.banerjee67@nic.in and planning@rubberboard.org.in on or before 12th April,2018.

If stakeholders would like to furnish materials offline, the inputs can be sent to Member Convenor, Task Force on Rubber Sector, C/o Planning Division, Rubber Board Head Office, Kottayam, Kerala 686 002.

The materials can also be handed over to the Planning Division at Rubber Board Head Office during office hours.

2 1. Regulation on import of NR o At present, import duty on NR is 25% or Rs. 30 per kg whichever is lower. Import duty of dry forms of rubber cannot be enhanced beyond 25% as the bound rate is also 25%. But there is no legal binding on duty cap. o Relevance and effectivity of Port restrictions and mandatory quality inspection on rubber. o Import of cup-lump has been blocked from 2001 as cup-lump does not have BIS standards. The phytosanitary concerns regarding import of cup lump and the effect of the said import on the orologi omega replica price of NR in the country. o Safeguard duty on rubber import. o Inversion in tax structure as import duty of rubber products is lower than that of NR. o Feasibility of Minimum Import Price in NR. 2. Budget constraints faced in Rubber sector o Fund constraints in rubber sector o Dovetailing of funds from other Ministries and Departments. o Modalities for generating additional resources to take up more plantation/replantation.

3. Production –consumption gap in Natural rubber o 41% of NR consumption in 2016-17 was met through import. o Block rubber is cheaper and consistent in technical properties but accounts only for 15% of the domestic production. More than 80% of import is from block rubber. o Sustainability in rubber sector by achieving at least 70% of consumption demand. o Action plan for focussed mass extension activity. o Modalities for improving the Rubber Production Incentive scheme in Kerala. o Manual for Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) in rubber for increasing productivity. o Insurance for rubber sector.

4. Increase in usage of rubber o Rubber products sector other than tyres, dominated by MSMEs has been facing several problems. o Increasing use of rubber in road rubberisation which is marginal at present due to competition from tyre crumb. o Setting up of more Rubber Parks in the country. o Export of NR depending upon domestic and international price trends.

5. Recognise status of NR as an agricultural product o NR is not included in the Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) of WTO and hence tariff policy is in line with the relevant provisions of non-agricultural products. o There is no classification of products into agricultural and non-agricultural within India. 3 o Benefits of national level agriculture development schemes are not currently extended to NR sector.

6. Processing of rubber o While sheet rubber accounts for nearly 70% of production, block rubber accounts for 47% of consumption and more than 80% of import. o Promotion of Group processing centres and block rubber processing units for increase in production and decrease in cost of production.

7. GST related issues o Earlier, VAT rate of most of the inputs used in rubber cultivation and processing (copper sulphate, plastic collection cup, cup hanger, tapping knife etc) was 5% but the GST rate is 18%. o VAT rate of rubber wood was 5% but GST rate is 18%. o RPS as village level clusters of growers facilitating group activities among them in collection of inputs, pooling/sale of produce, processing of rubber for better quality and consistency etc used to operate without VAT registration. RPS come under the GST regime if turnover is above Rs 20 Lakh. o GST of several non-tyre products has been fixed at 18% whereas the VAT rate was 5%.

8. Trading of rubber o Share of grower forums in rubber trading is only 12% of the total. o Necessity of online trading or auction system in NR trading. o Inconsistent NR market arrivals due to intra-year price fluctuations, stockholding and seasonality in production cause uncertainties.

9. Utilisation of rubber wood o Restrictions on felling rubber trees in some states under forest legislations. o Commercial utilisation of rubber wood. o Improving the Farmgate price of rubber wood which is lower due to the role of intermediaries.

10. Rubber policy o Necessity of a National Rubber Policy. o Components to be included for a sustainable and globally competitive Natural Rubber industry. *******

 

 

Minister K.J. Alphons Kannanthanam holds talks with rubber growers
Kottayam 11 November 2017

Sri. K.J. Alphons Kannanthanam, Hon’ble Minister for Tourism, Govt. of India, addressed a meeting of representatives of rubber growers and grower organizations in Kerala at Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII), Kottayam. He held discussions with them on various issues related to rubber.

Sri. A Ajith Kumar, Executive Director, Rubber Board; Sri. N Rajagopal, Secretary in Charge, Rubber Board and Dr. James Jacob, Director of Research, RRII were present in the meeting. Representatives of various rubber grower organizations like Rubber Producers’ Societies, United Planters’ Association of Southern India, Association of Planters Kerala, National Federation of Rubber Producers’ Societies, Rubber Karshaka Samrakshana Samithi, Rubber Board members and senior officers of the Board participated in the deliberations.

 

Hiring comes to a halt at commodity boards

AMITI SEN

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