Thiruvananthapuram: In a bid to provide relief to growers after the sharp fall in prices of natural rubber, the Kerala government is planning to directly procure the produce, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said Tuesday.
Taking a serious view of the situation, the state government has asked the Centre to provide Rs 100 crore from the Price Stabilisation Fund Trust under the Union Ministry of Commerce.
"This amount will be utilised for purposes including procurement of rubber which is under the consideration of the government, Chandy told the Assembly.
Chandy attributed the price decline in the domestic market to corresponding fall in the international market.
Agriculture Minister K P Mohanan said the state had asked the Centre to reintroduce port restrictions for rubber imports and fix import duty at 70 per cent or Rs 49 per kg, whichever is low. The state wanted incentives for rubber exports, he said.
The price has fallen from Rs 248 per kg in 2011 to Rs 135 per kg, impacting rubber growers, Raju Abraham of the CPI-M said.
He further said that more than 11 lakh families in the state depend on rubber cultivation.
Kerala contributes 90 per cent of total rubber production in the country. The majority of rubber growers are small and medium cultivators with land below one hectare. Only 2 to 3 per cent of the total growers are big estates, he added.