1. Agriculture World

Rubber support price hike will benefit small & marginal farmers in Kerala

Prity Barman
Prity Barman
Rubber Tree

By hiking the support price to Rs.170 per kg from Rs. 150 in the State Budget for 2021-22, Kerala's decision to promote rubber growers would offer some respite to small and marginal farmers, who are reeling under high production costs, stakeholders said. 

In Kerala, which is the largest producing state, the majority of 7-lakh rubber growers come under the small and marginal group. As of April 1, the higher support price will be successful. 

Rubber Park in Kerala 

The President of the Kottayam Rubber Dealers Federation, George Valy, said that this would increase the production of rubber to fulfill the industry's demand. The government should also come up with a replanting scheme for senile plants by widening finance at lower interest rates, he added, adding that the announcement of the establishment of Kerala Rubber Park as a hub for the manufacture of various rubber-related items on the models of the Amul cooperative society is a positive development. 

PC Cyriac, President of the Movement of Indian Farmers (Infam), said that the budget plan would provide farmers with only temporary relief. The state government has not been able to do anything for farmers, and it is up to the Centre to regulate imports and make fair prices available to farmers. 

A highly positioned source in the rubber sector told BusinessLine that it would distort the price structure and market conditions by announcing the support price as the prices are going up. When markets are in a decreasing mode, it would be optimal to offer a support price or some form of reward. This will help improve productivity and instill trust among the agricultural community. 

In addition, the decision would affect the quality of the raw material provided as a price is guaranteed to farmers for their products. 

R. Harikumar, President of the Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry, citing the State Planning Board's report, said that the effect of the lockout had predicted substantial losses to the agriculture and plantation sector with an expected loss of Rs650 crore to rubber plantations where employees (mainly tappers) lost around Rs110 crore. It will certainly be a big relief for the farmers to vote to raise the base price.

Coconut dominates the highest region with 29.3 percent coverage, followed by rubber with 21.28 percent, according to the new Economic Survey. As for de-growth in agriculture of -6.63 percent as per the economic survey, the MSP guarantee will help the sector to catch up with growth, he said. 

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