KOCHI: Signalling hopes for the beleaguered rubber industry, the visiting Turkish delegation’s ‘expression of interest’(EOI) in procuring more raw rubber and rubber products from Kerala at the meeting with the captains of the state’s rubber industry. The state accounts for roughly 90 per cent of the natural rubber(NR) produced in the country. N M Mathew, Rubber Board of India former director, whom the 14-member team from Ankara’s rubber industry had met on Saturday, said Turkey which has a fairly well established rubber manufacturing industry.
Commenting on the low rubber prices, he said there is a possibility of rising crude oil prices and corresponding synthetic rubber prices to have an impact on the demand for natural rubber. The low prices have led to under-production among cultivators which led to the shortfall in domestic production, Mathew said. However, the production will increase significantly once the prices pick up. The prices of imported rubber prices are currently `10-12 less compared to locally produced rubber, making the imports more profitable for the large rubber-consuming industries.
“The lower cost of production makes the NR from places like Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia significantly cheaper . But, we generally expect the prices of NR to pick up as the global economy registers a significant growth,” says Siby Monippally, general secretary, Indian Rubber Growers’ Association. He called upon the Centre to announce a comprehensive package for sustainable development of plantations.