Matchbox prices double after 14 years; to cost Rs 2 per matchbox

From 1 December onwards, the price of a matchbox would be Rs 2 from the present Rs 1 on account of rise in production cost, triggered by an increase in price of raw materials. Consumers would, however, get more matchsticks in a box when they buy it at Rs 2, up from 36 matchsticks to 50 per box.

The proposed price increase comes after a gap of 14 years, Secretary of the National Small Matchbox Manufacturers Association, V S Sethurathinam said.

The price of raw materials have increased leading to a jump in cost of production, he said adding “we have no other option but to increase the selling (Maximum Retail Price) price.” The price of all the 14 key raw materials have increased.

“A kilo of red phosphorous has increased from Rs 410 to Rs 850, wax from Rs 72 to Rs 85, pottasium chlorate Rs 68 to Rs 80, splints (sticks) from Rs 42 to Rs 48. Outer box Rs 42 to Rs 55 and inner box from Rs 38 to Rs 48. Like this, the price of all raw materials have increased manifold,” he told the Press Trust of India (PTI).

“The rise in fuel prices is also a factor. It has led to an increase in transportation cost.” Hence, from December 1, the price of a matchbox would be increased to Rs 2 (MRP) from the present Rs 1, he said.

“After about six months we may review the situation. In 2007, the price was increased from fifty paisa to Rs 1 per matchbox.” The price increase would help tackle the situation that has arisen due to the rise in production cost and the decision to go for a hike was taken after discussions with all associations, he said.

About five lakh people are dependent on the matchbox industry directly and indirectly and 90 per cent of the workforce is women, he said. Tamil Nadu is a leading manufacturer of matchboxes and Kovilpatti, Sattur, Sivakasi, Thiurthangal, Ettayapuram, Kazhugumalai, Sankarankoil, Gudiyattam and Kaveripakkam are the major production centres.

Shekhar Ghosh is a communications consultant and and former journalist, who has edited and written for publications such as like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today and Outlook.

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