Thiruvananthapuram: All eligible rubber planters in Kerala will be assured of Rs 150 per kilo if the state government’s plan to extend its fixed-price scheme through cooperative societies becomes successful. The government has asked planters to register through recognised cooperatives and service cooperative banks in areas not covered by rubber producers’ societies.
A government order related to the Rs 300 crore scheme is expected to be issued on Friday and registration to the scheme will start immediately. The process is expected to take a month to complete.
The state government plans to form a collective of farmers through rubber producers’ societies and use it to stem any artificially created price slide. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has pointed out that a lack of cooperation among farmers was hampering the government’s efforts to control the price fall.
Leakage of subsidies will be prevented thanks to the National Informatics Centre software created under the supervision of Finance Secretary K.M. Abraham. This will prevent large-scale planters from claiming subsidies and small-scale planters to sell more volumes than the prescribed limit at subsidised rates.
Planters can register through the rubber producers’ societies in their areas by producing land documents and identification papers. Field officers of the Rubber Board will verify the details of the farmers. Registered farmers can sell rubber through recognised traders, recognised societies, the Kerala State Co-operative Rubber Marketing Federation and Market Fed.
The benefit of subsidy will be given to a maximum of 1,800 kilo rubber per hectare. The maximum volume of rubber that can be sold at subsidised rates will be fixed every two weeks depending on the area of the plantation.
The scheme will not cover farmers with more than five hectares of land. Even for those covered under the scheme, the benefit of subsidy is limited to produce from 2 hectares.
They will be provided a subsidy equal to the difference between Rs 150 and the daily price fixed by the Rubber Board. RSS 5 and latex will also get subsidy at the same rate. The subsidy amount will be transferred to the farmers’ bank accounts every two weeks.
Helpline in the offing
The government is mulling the setting up of a helpline to allay the doubts of farmers regarding the government scheme to ensure a fixed price and address their complaints.
The government has thought of a helpline after many doubts have been raised by farmers and their cooperative societies regarding the registration to the scheme and procedures related to it.
Agriculture Minister K.P. Mohanan said the profit share from the sale of value-added products of rubber will be distributed to farmers within two months. The government will implement recommendations of an expert committee formed for the purpose, he told the Legislative Assembly.
The recommendation that farmers are entitled to a share of the profit from value-added products made from their produce is applicable to rubber farmers.
A 15-member committee has been formed to oversee the procurement of rubber. As much as 1227.32 tonnes of rubber have been procured until December. The procurement will continue until the price goes up to Rs 171 per kilo, he said.