AIKS Protests against Import of Natural Rubber & Fall in Its Prices
THE All India Kisan Sabha, in a statement issued on October 12 has strongly protested against the import of natural rubber that causes fall in rubber prices and brings havoc in the life of around ten lakh rubber producer households especially in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa and North Eastern states. The average price of natural rubber in 2010-11 was Rs 240 per Kilogram. In the last three years it has come down heavily and now stands at Rs 110 per kilogram and small farmers are selling for Rs 95 per kilogram. The NR experts predict that by December 2014, the price may further go down by around another Rs 25 per kilogram. The current natural rubber prices are the lowest in five years. As per the current prices, the farmers are not getting even the cost of production. The low prices cause farmers to stop tapping. This situation seriously affects the economy of large regions of rubber growing states. But the concerned state governments and the government of India are not extending any helping hand to the hapless farming community. The corporate rubber industry in India is manipulating domestic prices of NR by increasing import aiming at the peak yielding season of October-December. According to Rubber Board of India, the import of natural rubber during April-July this year was 1,33,789 tonnes compared to 90,580 tonnes imported during the same period last year. The corporate industrial houses benefit from low procurement prices of natural rubber and high selling price of value added rubber products. The economic slowdown of the world capitalist economy and consequential decrease in demand is the reason for global rubber glut and severe fall in NR prices. It underlines the failure of neo-liberal model of economic development that causes exploitation and devastation of large mass of peasantry world over. The free trade agreements including ASEAN agreement signed by the government of India is responsible for this miserable plight and major political parties including the BJP and the Congress pursuing the neo-liberal policies owe an explanation to the rubber farmers. The AIKS has strongly demanded the Narendra Modi government to revise the neo-liberal policies and immediately take necessary steps like enhancing the import duties of natural and synthetic rubber, declare minimum support price of Rs 200 per kilogram and promote domestic rubber based industries in order to protect the rubber farmers. AIKS has asked the government of India to compensate the rubber farmers for the loss due to the fall of price that has emanated from the erroneous economic policy pursued by it. The AIKS has appealed to the rubber growers to come forward by forging widest possible unity beyond their political affiliations to force the state governments as well as the government of India to accept their genuine demands.