1. Agriculture World

Rubber Board will increase Sheet Production along with a Compensation Scheme for Farmers

Shivam Dwivedi
Shivam Dwivedi
Rubber Research Institute of India

The Rubber Board has taken steps to increase sheet rubber production and alleviate the commodity's scarcity in the domestic market. The Rubber Board is implementing a scheme to compensate farmers for the difference in prices between field latex and sheet rubber of RSS-4 Grades, up to a maximum of $2 per kg, whenever the former reigns higher.

Compensation Scheme for Farmers

Farmers who sell their sheet rubber directly to Rubber Producer Societies or Rubber Board companies will be eligible for the scheme, with a $5,000 limit per individual farmer.

The scheme will be in place for three months, from December 1 to February 28, 2022. Rubber Board field staff will conduct verifications, and the compensation amount will be transferred directly to farmers' bank accounts, stated KN Raghavan, Executive Director, Rubber Board.

“In addition to the amounts disbursed under the scheme, this will also benefit rubber farmers, who will be able to capitalize on the high prices prevailing in the domestic market,” he said.

He noted that a large shift from sheet rubber to field latex does not bode well for the farming community because a shortage of sheet rubber would necessitate large-scale rubber imports. This could lead to a drop in the price of all types of rubber and should be avoided.

As a result, there’s a need to provide farmers with an incentive to process field latex into sheet rubber on a more consistent basis in order to meet the needs of the consuming industry.

According to Raghavan, the continuous heavy rains that have lashed Kerala have had a negative impact on rubber production and created a shortage of sheet rubber in the domestic market. Though production was on an upward trend this year until September, and prices were also on an upward trend, the adverse weather conditions proved to be a dampener in terms of production.

Although total natural rubber production was higher this year compared to the previous two years, sheet rubber production lagged behind. In fact, sheet rubber production decreased by 2.5 percent in the first half of the current fiscal year compared to the same period in 2019-20.

This is due to increased latex production as a result of market-wide higher prices for field latex. He claims that processing field latex to sheet rubber takes time and effort and that money-making farmer is hesitant to do so unless they can get a higher price for sheet rubber.

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