The Indian Farmers’ Movement (Infam) recently filed an interlocutory application before the Kerala High Court, seeking to direct India’s Commerce Ministry to announce a minimum support price (MSP) for rubber, based on the recommendations of the country’s Rubber Board.
In the petition, Mr. Joseph Kavanadiyil, General Secretary, Infam, made the case that the government’s Task Force on the Rubber Sector had recommended the inclusion of natural rubber (NR) as an agricultural produce and for its inclusion under an MSP policy. The Commerce Ministry accepted the recommendations on principle and sent a letter to the Agriculture Ministry, seeking their comments.
In December 2018, the country’s Rubber Board also sent a proposal to the Commerce Ministry, calling for the implementation of an MSP for rubber. However, India’s Commerce Ministry has taken the stand that NR does not fulfil most of the criteria for the inclusion under MSP.
The Rubber Board estimates that the actual cost of NR production in India is Rs 184.28/kg ($2.48/kg), but the market price is just Rs 118/kg ($1.59/kg). Infam urged the central government to establish an MSP for rubber, saying they had a constitutional duty to compensate farmers from the loss suffered due to the fall in price, at least above the cost of production.