By P Venugopal

Central Government will take steps to promote value addition in rubber. This was stated by Union Minister of Commerce Suresh Prabhu while inaugurating the India Rubber Meet by a video message in Kochi today.
He said the Task Force appointed by the Government to study the problems of the rubber sector has submitted its report and followup action will be taken after discussions with stakeholders.
Sheela Thomas, Member Secretary of Kerala Administrative Reforms Commission and former Chairman of Rubber Board, who declared the meet open, stressed the need for a sustainable rubber value chain to meet future challenges. She said concerted efforts should be made to ensure the quality of rubber to processors and fair price to growers.
Earlier in his welcome address, Rubber Board Chairman D Anandan said IRM is the only meet that ensures the participation of all rubber industry stakeholders. Vinod Simon, Chairman of Rubber Skill Development Council and Vice Chairman of IRM 2018, proposed a vote of thanks. The inaugural function is followed by presentations by experts. There will also be two-panel discussions on topical issues. The conference will conclude on October 31.

Galaxy of speakers

There will be invited talks by internationally renowned speakers. Speakers include Dr Hidde Smit (Consultant on Analysis and Forecasts of the Rubber Economy, The Netherlands, and former Secretary
General, International Rubber Study Group), Gunther Lottmann (CEO, Grupo Fortaleza, Guatemala), Rakesh Batra (Partner and National Leader, Automotive Sector, Ernst & Young), Mathew George (General Manager, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., Mumbai), Kishor Katkar (Head, Technical Services & Business Development, Indian Synthetic Rubbers Pvt. Ltd.), Aly Toure (Representative of Ivory Cost, International Organisations of Commodities, UK), John Heath (Director, Wurffain BR, United Kingdom), C Vinayaraghavan (President, Harrisons Malayalam Ltd.), N Dharmaraj (Director & Chief Executive, Harrisons Malayalam Ltd.), Jom Jacob (Senior Economist, Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries, Kuala Lumpur), Dr. Lakshmi Nair (Head, Economics & Statistics, International Rubber Study Group, Singapore), Dr. K.J. Joseph (Professor, Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram), Rajendra Gandhi (President, IRMRA), Datuk Dr. Abdul Aziz (Secretary General, International Rubber Research & Development Board, Malaysia), Ajay Shah (President, Polymer chain, Reliance Industries Ltd.), Dr. Ranjit Matthan (Consultant & Director, Polymer Consultancy Services Pvt. Ltd., Chennai), Sandana Das (Managing Director & CEO, R1 International, Singapore), Vinod T. Simon (Chairman, Rubber Skill Development Council and Vice Chairman, IRM 2018 Organizing Committee), Prof. Dr. Charoen Nakason (Prince of Songkla University, Thailand), Dr. A.K. Krishnakumar (former Rubber Production Commissioner & Adviser IL&FS), Dr. James Jacob (Director, Rubber Research Institute of India), Jose Mathew Kochukudy (Rubber Grower), Shiyas Ali (Managing Director, Edathala Polymers Pvt. Ltd & Secretary, Block Rubber Processors Association of India) and Tomy Abraham (President, Indian Rubber Dealers Federation).