Stop rubber import, hike import tax: KRFA

: The Kerala Rubber Farmers’ Association has called upon the Union government to take immediate steps to stop import of natural rubber or increase tax on imported rubber.

In a statement issued here on Wednesday, society president P.P. Somarajan said nearly 20 lakh rubber growers and 30 lakh labourers in the State had lost their means of livelihood owing to the pathetic slump in rubber prices.

According to him, the total area of rubber cultivation in the State was 7,59,000 ha and not less than 1 crore people are dependent on rubber cultivation for the past five decades.

The wrong policies of the Government had helped only a small group of rubber industrialists, resulting in the fall of rubber price to below Rs. 100 a kg. Ironically, the price of rubber products like tyre had registered a two-fold increase in the past few years, he alleged.

Mr. Somarajan said though the Rs. 300 crore subsidy announced by the government was a welcome gesture, only 20 per cent of the rubber cultivators in the State were eligible for subsidy since the Government had limited the eligibility to Grade 4 and 5 categories only.

“It is a well known fact that 80 per cent of farmers in Kerala were holding land between 10 cents and one acre and it has never been possible for them to produce Grade 4 and 5 rubber. This very well suggests that the policy has been framed with a dubious intention to deny the benefits to a majority deserving farmers who belong to the poorer sections of society,” he alleged.

Mr. Somarajan said the government should either stop the import of natural rubber or increase the import tax so that the farmers get a minimum price of Rs. 190 a kg for rubber.

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Printable version | Sep 25, 2021 1:07:01 AM |

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