Rubber exports rose 103pc during July-January
Dhaka, Feb 14:Rubber producers and exporters have witnessed exponential growth in the last seven months, on the back of rising demand in international and domestic markets. During July-January, earnings from rubber exports stood at USD 10.06 million, an increase of 103.64% over the corresponding period in the previous year, according to data published by Export Promotion Bureau (EPB). Target for rubber exports were set at USD 5.71 million, for the period under review.
Businessmen from 54 countries, specially India, China, Saint Barthélemy, Malaysia, Turkey, Singapore and Pakistan are showing keen interest over Bangladeshi raw and processed rubber for its quality, Syed Moazzam Hossain, president, The Bangladesh Rubber Garden Owners Association (BRGOA), told The Independent. “This year, we are not far from the targeted rubber exports,” he added.
The global shortage and price-hike of rubber were forcing international traders to treat Bangladesh as an alternative source, he pointed out. “The budget has imposed 15 per cent VAT on us, restricting the sector’s growth,” Hossain said.
Local planters sell rubber latex sheets, which are perishable items, for industrial use, he said, adding, “Sandals made from raw rubber is supposed VAT free. But producers still have to fork out VAT.”
Imposing VAT on raw rubber is “unfair”, as the government has withdrawn VAT from all agro-based products, such as rice, jute, potato or tomato, to boost growth in these sectors, he said. A rubber tree absorbs more carbon dioxide than other trees, Hossain said, adding that the new VAT will also threaten the environment and discourage plantation.
A 17-member delegation had visited Malaysia from January 26 to 29, to gain knowledge and exchange views on rubber plantation and processing, explore areas of possible cooperation, and establish business network between rubber planters of the two countries, he added. Growers said a large number of foreign traders were looking for rubber here, as its price in the local market was lower than that of current global prices, which has gone up in an unprecedented manner.
Cultivation of rubber is relatively new in Bangladesh, compared to other countries. The government has been encouraging plantations in the hill areas, since 1980. About 45,000 acres of land have been allotted to the BFIDC so far, and 32,500 acres to private owners, for rubber plantations.