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Updated: July 23, 2013 03:13 IST

Poor natural rubber production puts industry in a spot

K. A. Martin
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Rubber-based industries in the State are in a spot of bother as arrival of natural rubber (NR) has dropped to about 10 per cent of normal levels following incessant rain over the last 45 days. The Rubber Board will convene a meeting of all stake-holders on Wednesday in Kottayam to review the situation.

A senior official of the board said on Monday that the situation was quite bad. Rubber-based industries, led by Automotive Tyre Manufacturers’ Association (ATMA), have appealed for an immediate solution.

Vice-president of Indian Rubber Dealers’ Federation Jose Mamparambil said farmers had exhausted all stocks. Even those who oversold the stock, expecting to start rubber once the rain relented, are in trouble.

A communication to the Rubber Board by ATMA, which holds the lion’s share in the Rs.60,000-crore per year rubber-based industry, said the situation was critical with rain not allowing the tapping of rubber since June. The level of consumption continued at levels of last year though production had dipped considerably, the ATMA note said.

The communication expressed concern that production in June may have dropped to between 35,000 tonnes and 40,000 tonnes against the Rubber Board estimate of 64,000 tonnes. NR production in June 2012 was 62,000 tonnes.

ATMA director general Rajiv Budhraja was quoted in a press release saying that since the Rubber Board estimated a reserve of 2.6 lakh tonnes of NR in the country, the scarcity situation should not have arisen. He appealed to the board to address the issue. The Rubber Board estimate was that there were 1.1 lakh tonnes of NR with stockists and dealers and 86,000 tonnes with the farmers at the end of March 2013, the ATMA official said.

Figures released by the Rubber Board for the month of June 2013 showed that rubber production decreased 12.9 per cent compared to the same month in 2012. Actual production slowed to 54,000 tonnes compared to 62,000 tonnes. At the same time, consumption has remained at 82,000 tonnes during June 2013 compared to the 83,000 tonnes in May 2013.

The April to June 2013 figures too are disappointing with total production of NR at 1,66,000 tonnes, down by 3.9 per cent compared to the same period in 2012. Consumption level, however, was 2,47,000 tonnes, marginally lower than the previous year period.

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