ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Natural Rubber Perils of Policy

K N Harilal K J Joseph THE rubber plantation industry in India is caught in perhaps the worst crisis that it has encountered since independence. The crisis has many dimensions; the record fall in the price of natural rubber being the most striking. The market price of natural rubber recently touched the lowest level recorded during the last five years and is about half of what prevailed two years ago. With input prices and cost of living maintaining their upward trend, the plight of about nine lakh natural rubber growers and four lakh workers engaged in rubber cultivation needs no elaboration. According to a conservative estimate the accumulated loss suffered by the growers during the last one year would be around Rs 800 crore. Most of this loss would have been borne by the small holders (with an average holding size of less than 0.50 hectares) who account for nearly 85 per cent of the area as well as production.

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