Natural rubber rallies, but growers aren’t tapping into it

KOCHI: Rising natural rubber prices haven’t encouraged growers to go for tapping during monsoon, triggering fears of a surge in imports as consumption is expected to reach a new high.

The RSS-4 rubber prices rallied 8 per cent in May to reach Rs 128.50 per kg on Monday, but growers are still hesitant to go for tapping in full swing. “Many growers haven’t installed rain guards for tapping during monsoon because of lower prices,’’ said PM Thomas, a grower.

Last year, poor tapping during rainy season had led to a shortfall in production. The Rubber Board has projected an output of 7.3 lakh tonne and a consumption of 12 lakh tonne for this year.

Foreseeing that the huge deficit of 4.70 lakh tonne will spur more imports, rubber dealers have called for raising import duty.