THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Alarmed by political fallout that could stem from the distress in rubber farming sector, the state government has come up with a price support scheme to ensure that farmers receive Rs.150/kg for Natural Rubber.
The scheme would utilise Rs.300 crore that was earmarked in the budget for the purpose. However, the modalities of the scheme could not be finalised as talks with representatives of various farmers’ organisations held on Wednesday by the Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and attended by the Finance Minister K M Mani hit a road block. A sub-committee will hold another meeting to take a final call on the implementation of the scheme.
The UDF Government moved speedily after it received feedback, in the backdrop of ongoing poll campaign at Aruvikkara, that any delay in addressing the issues in the sector will prove costly for the Front and the Government.
The meeting held on Wednesday was not conclusive because of difference of opinion regarding the proposal to directly transfer the difference in price to the bank accounts of beneficiaries. Growers who want to avail the price support scheme should have less than five hectares and financial assistance would be limited two hectares per registered applicant. The maximum eligible financial assistance for each applicant will be calculated at the rate of 1,800 kg/hectare in all cases and it will be payable to both sheet rubber and latex. The Rubber Board will ensure maximum participation of growers with the help of Rubber Producers Societies (RPS).
Leaders of farmers’ outfits affiliated to the Left were of the opinion that norms for financial assistance should be simplified and the only criteria should be the extent of rubber holdings. Another suggestion was that the state should think of rubber procurement using the budget allocation and stock the produce in the godowns of State Ware Housing Corporations.