KOCHI: Natural rubber import to the country in the financial year 2014-15 reached 454,303 tonnes, a record for the import of the commodity into the country. The provisional data released by the Rubber Board on Thursday shows that the import accounted for nearly 50 per cent of the domestic consumption of natural rubber in the country.
The natural rubber consumption has been placed at 987,540 tonnes, down by 3.3 per cent compared with 102,09,10 tonnes in the previous year. The natural rubber output fell by 12.7 per cent to 563,000 tonnes from 645,000 tonnes.
The surge in import was attributed mainly to the shortage of the commodity in the domestic market and the low price in the international market.
“The domestic production was down due to the reluctance on the part of rubber growers to tap the tree due to low prices”, said Jeby Mathew, chief coordinator of the New Rubber Farmers Forum. The industry also opted to import as the global price was much lower than the price prevailing in the international market, he said.
The natural rubber price meanwhile has shown an upward trend in the past few days tracking the rise in crude oil price and the overall short supply of the commodity. The rubber price is likely to see a revival in the short term, a senior official of the Rubber Board told DC on Thursday. “The price is on a revival, but I will not be able to provide any assurance on the sustainability of the upswing”, he said.