NPP urges Centre’s intervention to save rubber farmers

| Updated: 07 January, 2024 4:56 pm IST
Scarcity of Rubber tappers a major challenge in kerala..

KOTTAYAM: In a fervent appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Commerce Ministry, the National Progressive Party (NPP), a prominent right-wing political entity, recently called for a rise in the support price of natural rubber to Rs 300 per kg in Kottayam in Kerala.
The NPP aims to alleviate the plight of lakhs of farmers in the state who are on the brink of abandoning rubber cultivation due to low market prices currently hovering around Rs 140 per kg, coupled with the burden of expensive labour.

The NPP, established with a mission to champion the cause of farmers and fishermen in the state, has announced plans for an indefinite protest. The party urged both the state and central governments to urgently address the issue and find a viable solution.

NPP members holding a meeting to discuss the issues faced by Rubber farmers

Industry experts estimated the current cost of rubber production at Rs 250 per kg, while the prevailing market price ranges between Rs 135 and Rs 148 per kg. Stakeholders emphasised that continuing cultivation is financially unsustainable given the current market dynamics of low rubber prices and high labour costs.

Presently, around 8 lakh families in the state directly depend on rubber cultivation, with a majority being small-scale farmers owning up to 4-5 acres of land. The industry is grappling with a deep crisis due to the high cost of labour and a shortage of labourers in the state. 

Reports indicate that half of the total rubber cultivation land lies abandoned, leading to unemployment for thousands of labourers. Furthermore, farmers are yet to receive arrears from the state government.

General Secretary of the NPP, Advocate Joy Abraham, emphasised the need for immediate intervention by the Centre to rescue the lakhs of cultivators who have historically contributed significantly to the state’s economy. Abraham pointed out the lack of steps taken by the state government towards the upliftment of the rubber industry.

“The state government has not taken any step towards the upliftment of the rubber industry and hence we are appealing to the central government to immediately interfere in the matter and save the lakhs of cultivators who had once contributed significantly to the state economy,” Abraham told The New Indian.

NPP’s key demands ahead of the 2024 polls include:

a) Increase in support price of natural rubber to Rs 300 per kg.

b) Conduct a study on the challenges faced by senior citizens and formulate appropriate solutions.

c) Address the escalating issue of wild animal attacks on humans and properties located in the fringes of forests.

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