Planters’ body seeks total ban on natural rubber import

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Kochi, Jan 22 ( IANS) An apex body of planters in south India on Friday demanded a central ban on import of natural rubber through all channels till the domestic prices stabilise.

Kerala accounts for 82 percent of rubber production in the country and falling prices had badly affected around a million growers and their families in the state, the United Planters’ Association of Southern India (UPASI) said.

UPASI president N. Dharmaraj said Kerala rubber growers were in dire straits as prices had fallen to Rs.98 per kg for prime grade, far below the production cost.

“Low prices of natural rubber are forcing farmers to stop tapping or even abandon cultivation,” he said.

The Association of Planters Kerala, an umbrella organisation of planters with interest in tea, rubber, cardamom and coffee, said on Friday that the central government directive for a ban on natural rubber import through a few channels till this fiscal’s end will not help.

APK chairman Vinayaraghavan said that natural rubber import should be banned for a year and farmers given a minimum support price of Rs.150 per kg.

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