BANGLADESH: Rampant import of raw rubber threatens local production

Earlier, local industries used to buy the country's raw rubber. But they are no longer interested to buy the local raw rubber. As a result, a large quantity of raw rubber remains unsold, a high official of Bangladesh Forest Industries Development Corporation (BFIDC) said requesting anonymity.

The country's rubber industry has for some time been facing setback due to the absence of a combined law. The government should take pragmatic initiatives to protect the sector, the official added.

He said of late the local rubber producers had been importing raw rubber sheets from Thailand and Vietnam.

Some 2,000 to 2,500 tonnes of the country's raw rubber products remain unsold every year. As a result, the sector is incurring huge financial losses, according to BFIDC.

The authorities concerned are trying to improve the rubber quality, besides trying to tap new export markets.

In this connection, BFIDC has recently applied to the Chief Controller of Imports and Exports (CCI&E) under the ministry of commerce (MoC) for exemption from the 'Export Registration Certificate (ERC), the BFIDC sources said.  

To pave the way for meeting the nation's requirement for rubber and raise export earnings from it, the government took the initiative to expand its cultivation in suitable areas, sources said.

Over 60 % of the domestic rubber is used in local industries. The rest is exported. Rubber-based industries produce plastic, glue, tyre, tube, etc. The industries have been developed in the country due to rubber production in Bangladesh. A number of small-scale latex factories have generated employment, sources said.

Currently, tyres of bicycles and auto-rickshaws, produced in the industries, are being exported.

According to FAO, in Bangladesh within 2020 the demand for rubber will be 100,000 tonnes, for which 1,50,000 acres of land will have to be brought under cultivation. To serve the sector better, the present government has affiliated the Rubber Board and its headquarters will be in Chittagong.

Source: Daily "The Financial Express", Dhaka; 5 Feb 2014(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)