Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Raising Rubber Plantation is not enough: In the Tricky Rubber Market, Stay United and Stay Focused.

      Before I begin with this post, I pay my sincere tribute to Dr. Verghese Kurien, the “Father of white revolution” of India. It was due to him that the “AMUL brand” has become so famous. His co-operative model is still useful, and can be effective even in days to come.
Trending movement of Rubber:
            The moment! The moment was for rubber and rubber plantation. That’s the trend. Who don’t want to be part of the proven movement? Everybody! Looking to this trending movement, everyone would feel and imagine for starting rubber plantation.
             This is normal tendency and it should happen and, happen for good.
Dreamt to be part of the moment:
            Following the trend, a man from the same area was also eying for this trending rubber plantation. The man otherwise was a daily wage earner. He was maintaining his family with his meager daily wage income.
            But who could stop him from dreaming? It’s his life. He too dreamt for big and dreamt to have a rubber plantation in spite of his non-rewarding occupation.
            In those days wage rate! It was really pittance compare to these days. Surviving, with this meager daily income was really a challenging job for many daily wage earners. Hoping for other options? Unfortunately, worries for foodstuff preoccupy his major share of thought process.
Interest and persistence matters:
            Nevertheless, he has the heart and foresight and objective to observe, feel and follow others. He feels agitated, he’s capable enough to raise rubber plantation on his own.
            The reason is; he wants to improve his living standard and socio-economic status. He feels economic solvency would bring prosperity and for this to happen, he needs to take this risk.
            It’s not that he was unaware of the huge money involvement in raising rubber plantation. He was very much aware of the fact. He was actually not having that monetary support or resource in that particular time.
            His only asset is; physical ability and determination to do something stable for the welfare of the family.
            There’s even harder problem; because he doesn’t possess the required land to raise rubber plantation. He was actually in despair mode.  This is because despite having interest and capability to raise rubber plantation, he’s unable to start due to land.
            However, if there’s wish, there’s a way.  And positive way out is possible with your insistence on the matter and aspiration.
Take help when in need and just start:
            There are good people who feel and cry for others in the time of their crisis. As luck would be, there appeared a helping man. The man who owns lot of hilly land feeling pity on him has given a portion of his land to this landless man.
            The land was given to him on power of attorney to start rubber plantation.  With this offering, the major obstacle to start rubber plantation has been cleared. It has put him on the right track to pursue his desires / dream.
            So, he feels accomplished on being offered land for raising rubber plantation. He has finally started the cherished rubber plantation with all hopes and aspiration on the land offered to him.
            Initially he has started with his hard earned money and the money that his family members could afford and contribute for raising rubber plantation. He has also employed his family members in the plantation works.
            He spent the money that was required in cash for purchasing budded rubber seedlings and other recurring expenditure for time to time maintenance of the plantation.
            He wasn’t trained; he learnt all the techniques of raising rubber plantation from fellow growers. He observed the techniques and applied in his plantation. He has also asked for advice wherever he requires for raising rubber seedlings and plantation.
            As an instance, he has taken the help from fellow growers with respect to application for subsidy money from the Rubber Board.
Surviving in gestation period:
            Raising and maintaining the rubber plantation and waiting for quite long time was even tougher. This is because in one way family requires money for subsistence on the other hand, rubber plantation also requires money for time to time maintenance. So spending the seven long years were some of the nightmare that he and his family members experienced.
            However, he got some interim relief after receipt of subsidy money from the rubber board. Subsidy money had immensely helped him to meet his family requirement as well as maintenance expenditure of rubber plantation.
Achieving in cherished goal:
          Finally the long awaiting and struggle for economic stability has come to an end. The plantation is now seven years old and rubber trees in required diameter for tapping. So happy; the day has finally come and the days of economic miseries are soon to end.
            However, here again some more investment would be required for him to start tapping of rubber trees. He would require tapping knife, plastic cup, aluminium tray, acid to coagulate rubber latex and many others.
            This is required for further processing of latex and producing the final product the dry rubber sheets. All these required articles too have been collected to begin with the continuous harvest.
             In fact, all these have been collected very easily and fast because when destination is so near what’s there to pullback.
            Now, the tapping has begun.  Grower has in fact started selling the dried rubber sheets and earned money from his plantation. It gives him a sense of self-fulfillment and self reliant.
            From here he can now pursue his other aims and objectives for family interest. But then every step is important and requires knowledge to step in.

Marketing of rubber product and tactics employed:
            Of course, by this time he has also acquired marketing knowledge and observed where other growers’ sale their rubber produces. In his area, other growers usually sell their produce in retail market or local dealers.
            He has the knowledge and information that in some areas growers also sale both liquid latex and dried rubber sheets to the Rubber Producers’ Society (RPS). He however, sticks to dried rubber sheets as he required instant money.
            And, instant money is possible through spot selling to the local dealer or in retail sale. Impatient? Impatient to wait and observe!
            He grossly followed growers who sale in retail market, he sales his dried rubber sheets in the local market in retail rate. He sales his products twice in a week on market day to the local dealers.
            Means; waited for long to raise plantation but impatient to stock even for a month.
Overt dependency on local dealers and loopholes in rate analysis:
            He sells the dried rubber sheets to the local dealer on the rate as offered by the dealer. He didn’t try to know and analyze actual market rate in other areas. He isn’t aware of rubber price in outside area of his locality.
             He’s totally depending on the local dealer for price of rubber. Why? Why should he be?
            The problem with him was not to collect the rate information from other areas. This may be because of the geographical location of his village. Or, it may be due to fact that grower isn’t ready to come out of his comfort zone.
             Of course, there could be other real human problems too. This may also be happening due to backwardness and self awareness level of growers. Grower should have the basic knowledge to tap the best market price like other areas of the state.
            So, he needs to keep a good contact and get connected with other progressive growers. But, he’s contrary and reverse. Result? He’s disconnected.
Reasons of low price realization:
            He was really disconnected from the bigger world of rubber market and rubber price. He wasn’t aware of daily price movement of natural rubber in the national market. Is that exaggeration? May not be so.
            Everything is accessible, accessible with finger tip, whether he directly accesses it or takes help from other that’s different. Otherwise, you would be depending on some one’s mercy.
            Another problem could be location of the RPS, the nearest RPS is actually quite far away from his village. It’s due to the fact that he’s unable to connect with the RPS authority on the matter of rubber price and other facilities.
            But, it’s his problem. He should try every option, option that would work in his favor. He can’t afford to be in dilly-dallying.
Affect on marketing loopholes:
            Result of being inexperienced is: during the month from April, 2012 to July, 2012, his sales price of dried rubber sheet was @142 per kilogram which was actually very low compare to other areas of the state.
            And, on August, 2012, of course, he got good rate of 150 per kilogram of dried rubber sheets. There’s something abnormal and mysterious.
            This is because during the month from April, 2012 to July, 2012, the average rate of dried rubber sheets was well above 150 but he got only 142. That means he was loser; loser by selling his dried rubber sheet on the rate as mentioned to the local dealers.
            It’s also strange that during the month of August, 2012 he got the rate of 150 that’s good price because during August, 2012, the rate was comparatively low even in outside area too. The point is; how was he offered the good price?
             This is actually intentional act played by the local dealer to extract him later on. Offering good price during volatile time! Its moral booster to the grower but behind the scene is different.
            He also sales his produce to the dealer who’s visiting door to door to the growers for purchase of dried rubber sheets.
            What happen is; when the growers sale their produce to this visiting dealer, they’re subjected to lower price. Because dealers offering very low price with damn excuse that he’s purchasing the produce in site so he’s also ought to share his profit due to transportation and other charges etc.
Overt influence of dealers:
            There’s a thing that happens in the rural area; dealer in search of rubber produce actually try to influence the growers by any means. It’s because, by doing so he’s confirming the continuous flow of product from such growers only to deprive them from the remunerative price.
There are different tactics that dealers employ to influence the growers.
            Dealers also sometimes pays hefty sum in advance to the growers only to deprive and extract later on by compelling them to sell their produce even in the less price compare to the prevailing good market price.
            When there’s monetary exchange between the growers and dealers, there’s bound to be some kind of relationship and emotional bonding. But, in majority of cases, dealer is applying his marketing tactics not his heart.
            When there’s such situation, growers become the victim; they’re loosing the huge profit. They may not be realizing the fact in the given situation however, in such situation they’re actually loosing a huge chunk of profit that could have been their share of income.
            Here middleman is meddling; middleman is making the money in short span of time by depriving the actual growers. Dealer is actually raising his profit margin on getting the product in lower price and re-selling them in higher price.
            Middleman, they’re everywhere and venturing in every filed. Middleman although require money to start however, they aren’t necessarily be the hard working guys deserving the big margin compare to the actual hardworking producers.
Lack of awareness and sensitization:
            All these are happening due to lack of self awareness and sensitization of the rubber growers. It’s due to this precarious condition that middleman is making all this difference depriving growers to earn their due share of profit.
            Here’s another situation that may be pertaining to grower’s diligence. I’ve no hesitation say. These growers who until few years ago were meager daily wage income earners but they’ve seen overnight earning good money. That’s driving them actually not to examine the rubber market carefully.
            There’s complete lack of economic awareness amongst the poor and uneducated rubber growers. It’s due to that reason; a section of dealers is taking this opportunity by depriving and squeezing the innocent growers in the process.
Learn to overcome from the problems:
            Rubber growers; for that matter every producers should be intelligent enough to know ins and out of everything. Let it be the price of the rubber sheet or rubber latex. Growers should know in fact they should try to know as to how best they can sale their produce in better price for profit maximization. 
Self awareness and learn from mistake:
            Here what can we see is; by selling his dried rubber sheet for 142 per kilogram, the grower has actually lost fifteen to twenty rupees per kilogram. In terms of total quantity sold, this is huge loss to the grower.
            This would have been his (their) share of money and would have helped him a lot for his economic solvency.
            But, alas! That’s not being the case.
            The time now is; who cares for whom. Everybody is so absorbed for himself and his profit that he’s not worried at all whether others are hugely at loss due to such deal.  The situation is just close the deal by any means and earns the profit.
            Who cares, if maximum profit is earned with little work and investment? So there’s no second thought in offering the lower price to the growers and earn the maximum profit in return. This is what’s being done by a section of dealer and hugely depriving the actual producers.
Local RPS should come forward:
Growers should keep a good contact with the local society of grower’s (Rubber Producers Society).
            They should be active members of the RPS, because RPS is the forum for rubber producers. It’s a platform for the rubber producers to discuss the issues and know new thing and offerings of the rubber board or Government.
            RPS should come forward and help these deserving growers so that the growers are not deprived and get remunerative market price. It’s also to ensure that no growers are cheated in the process of selling the rubber product. As the purpose of the RPS is to help, it should work towards the welfare of growers and people in rubber based profession.
            They should also help the rubber growers and facilitate all other facilities as may be required. Therefore, it’s of primary importance for the RPS to come forward and check the situation in reality and render their helping hands to the growers for pursuing their dream.
Need of facilitation centre:
            RPS should take up the membership campaign to register all the growers and bring them under the umbrella of RPS and help them when they actually need help.
            RPS should also ensure some kind of facilitation centre in every rubber growing belts. This is for ensuring growers to get the daily market update and other information on rubber and its popularization.
            Rubber Producers Society should take greater role in bringing the real change in the rural areas. It should be a model society, a transparent body where growers can exchange their views and also take help as and when required.
            There’s an inspiring model of cooperative, a cooperative which is in the public domain due to its excellence in its functioning and persuasion. It’s none other than the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation, a name for milk producers, a name for milk and milk products of India. It has helped thousands of small milk producers in Gujarat, and millions across India in shaping the dreams of these small milk producers.
            If the above FEDERATION is for milk; let the RPS be for rubber. Therefore, RPS should take the lead role in educating and motivating the small rubber growers, and extend its helping hand for these small rubber growers who may be vulnerable to external influence.
            This will quietly reduce this type of deprivation by the crook people while selling the rubber produce.
Finally; raising rubber with all these hard toil is not enough, growers should be clever enough and motivated as to how to act in the prevailing market condition. Stay united and act consciously.
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