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Labour shortage in rubber sector in Kerala: An analysis

Publication Type : Book Chapter

Publisher : Development and Plantation Labour in India, New Delhi: Routledge India.

Source : Development and Plantation Labour in India, New Delhi: Routledge India, 2016, pp. 196-233

Campus : Amritapuri

School : School of Business

Department : Department of Management

Year : 2016

Abstract : This Chapter examines the regional dimensions of emerging labour shortage in the rubber sector in Kerala. It observes that the unparalleled dynamism cast by the expansion of rubber spearheaded by the smallholder sector in Kerala has been severely challenged, especially since the late 1990s in view of the labour shortage, characterized by the paucity of skilled rubber tappers in both the smallholding and the plantation sectors. Labour shortage, especially of rubber tappers, in the dominant rubber smallholding sector has become a more serious issue in recent years, in view of several reasons such as the following: (a) rise in area under rubber operated by smallholders along with a corresponding rise in rubber-tapped area, (b) the inertia among younger generations to take up rubber tapping as an economic activity, (c) almost negligible presence and active participation of women in rubber tapping and related activities and (d) ageing of the existing labour force engaged in tapping job. More important, a serious outcome of the emerging tapper shortage in Kerala has also been manifest in terms of the growing syndrome of ‘multiple grower dependence of tappers’ in the traditional rubber growing regions of Kerala. The chapter attempts to (a) examine the nature, magnitude and causes of tapping labour scarcity in the rubber sector across the three rubber growing regions of Kerala; (b) understand the strategies and actions adopted by the rubber producers (large planters and smallholders) and other stakeholders in the rubber sector to address the tapper shortage problems across regions; and (c) discuss the challenges and critical issues as well as the long-term implications of tapper shortage on the sustainability of smallholder rubber production system in Kerala and bring out the imperatives of policy and institutional strategies.

Cite this Research Publication : Dr. Viswanathan P. K., “Labour shortage in rubber sector in Kerala: An analysis”, in Globalisation, Development and Plantation Labour in India, New Delhi: Routledge India, 2016, pp. 196-233.

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