KOCHI: In the wake of the continuing decline in rubber prices, the Catholic Church-led Indian Farmers’ Movement (INFAM) is set to strengthen its activities.
Speaking at a press conference, after an executive council meeting of the organisation, INFAM national patron Bishop Mathew Arakkal urged the government to find a solution to the fall in rubber prices. “The rubber farmers are now facing a crisis, because of the steep fall in prices. They have not been able to recover even labour costs from plantations. Uncontrolled import of rubber is the primary reason behind the fall in prices. Earlier, import of rubber was allowed through only two ports. But, now import is allowed through all ports. Also, the imported rubber is of substandard quality,” the Bishop pointed out.
“The quality of rubber influences the quality of the products made of it. Tyres made of the rubber produced in Kerala last till the vehicle runs 50,000- 60,000 km, while tyres made of imported rubber last till 30,000- 35,000 km only. The unscientific measures adopted by the Rubber Board have worsened the situation,” the Bishop said.
He pointed out that the use of rubberised bitumen for road construction could be a relief for the farmers. He is of the opinion that the growth of milk production in Gujarat could be considered as a model for segment-wise development. “The plantation sector in Kerala should be developed like that,” he added.
Bishop Arakkal also said that tax burdens have worsened the situation of farmers.