Centre’s task force recommends natural rubber be treated as agricultural product, Kerala govt. tells High Court

The task force on the rubber sector constituted by the Central government has recommended that natural rubber be treated as an agricultural product, the State government has informed the Kerala High Court.

The task force has also recommended that the Union Agricultural Ministry should examine the possibility of including natural rubber under the MSP scheme.

The submissions were made in a statement filed in response to a writ petition seeking a directive to fix a minimum support price for natural rubber. The petition also sought to remove natural rubber from the list of industrial crops and classify it as agricultural products such as cotton, jute and tobacco. The price of rubber had faced crashes in the last few years, which made its production enviable and uneconomic.

The State government said that the Rubber Act did not confer any obligation on the State to forward its recommendation to the Centre for arriving at the correct cost of production or fixing MSP for crops. It was the prerogative of the Centre to fix MSP for the notified crops. However, the State government was implementing the Rubber Production Incentive Scheme from 2015 onwards. Under this scheme, small and medium natural rubber farmers were guaranteed a minimum of ₹150 per kg for natural rubber. The State government had requested the Centre to provide financial support to the State government to increase the incentive from ₹150 per kg to ₹200 and take steps to include it in the proposed Livelihood Security Box and re-categorise natural rubber as an agricultural commodity in various trade agreements.

The petition was filed by K.A. Joseph, President of the Indian Rubber Dealers Federation, and others. The petitioners added that growers had stopped tapping because of price crash and increase in the cost of production. Dealers too incurred heavy losses. The price slash was due to massive import of rubber.

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Printable version | Apr 14, 2021 2:46:01 PM |

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