India: From rubber growers to tyre makers

Rubber growers in India’s Kerala state are guarding themselves against potential slumps in natural rubber prices by forming a producer company that will manufacture tyres for two- and three-wheel vehicles. The Integrated Rubber Farmer Producer Company Ltd (IRFPC) was registered last November. The Pala-based company is being financed in part by a share float open to rubber farmers, and is also being assisted by German NGO the Andreas Hermes Akademie.

According to news published by The New Indian Express, IRFPC is interested in acquiring a tyre factory currently offered for sale by creditors. It quotes Ajit C John, a working group member of IRFPC, as reporting: “We are bidding for the tyre plant for which we are now raising funds.”

John comments that the IRFPC can only provide growers the “right value” for their produce by making tyres of its own. He added that the company is focusing on the two- and three-wheeler tyre segment as this is experiencing a far higher rate of growth than the tyre market overall.

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