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National rubber policy in the making Suresh Prabhu

National rubber policy in the making Suresh Prabhu

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

NEW DELHI: 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.