Though much delayed, this will serve to inject some life into the dying rubber plantation business, UPASI vice president N Dharmaraj said in a release on Saturday.

Although a record quantity of 4.2 lakh tonnes of rubber has been imported last fiscal, substantially higher than the production/consumption gap of 3.4 lakh tonnes for the same period, the increase in import duty would help shore up domestic rubber prices at least medium term, Dharmaraj said.

The current landed price of TSR (the grade of Rubber imported) will be Rs 115 per kg in the new duty regime against the current traded price of domestic TSR at Rs 106.       

Also, not withstanding, the mal-propaganda against the quality issues of RSS4 (the grade predominantly produced domestically), the consuming industry will need a certain quantity of RSS4  for value added tyres.       

The landed price of imported RSS4 in the new duty regime would be Rs 141 against domestic traded price of at Rs 119, he pointed out.

Therefore, the long term systemic corrections relating to the mismatch between a lower cost imported grade and a higher cost but higher quality domestic grade was essential to the long term health of rubber supply chain.

Besides being technically superior RSS4  is a backyard produce with least conversion cost and is crucial to the sustainability of the rural economy in Kerala and other newly emerging producing states ike Goa,  Maharashtra and the North East, he said.

Seeking to clarify certain issues with regard to reports appeared in a section of press on the proposed revision of Rubber Board statistics on production, he said.

UPASI will strongly oppose any move to retrofit the current year’s lower production data retrospectively, since the current years lower production is a clear fall out of the low price scenario.
      
These statistics are under discussion by the  Board with the stakeholders in the newly constituted Technical Sub Committee, Dharmaraj added.

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