Kochi: Natural rubber import has surged ahead by nearly 100,000 tonnes in Apr-Oct of the current fiscal compared to the same period a year ago dealing a crippling blow to rubber farmers in Kerala, accounting for almost 90 per cent of the production of the commodity in the country.
The provisional data released by Rubber Board on Tuesday shows that import of natural rubber rose to 356,255 tonnes as against 263,221 tonnes in the same period a year ago.
The imported rubber accounted for nearly 50 per cent of the total consumption of the commodity in the country totalling 716,040 tonnes.
The import has surged ahead even as the domestic output showed a decline in Apr-Oct compared with a year ago.
As against 382,000 tonnes in Apr-Oct last year the production in this year was only 344,000 tonnes.
Rubber farmers blame the unbridled import of the commodity for the lower price prevailing in the country while industry representing the tyre manufacturers says the lack of enough supply in the domestic market prompts the import.
The average price of the RSS-4 grade at Kottayam slipped to Rs 129.80 per kg in 2017-18 from Rs 135.49 per kg....