The condition of majority of the agriculturist in Kerala had been highly pathetic. The land holdings were fragmented and yielded crops were insufficient for their up keep. Many peasants had huge debts. In the early days many had taken up cultivation of cash crops like pepper, coconut, ginger and cashew. However, the price of these crops fluctuated and often crashed, when they were ready for market. The effort of Prof:Chandy and his colleagues for the active involvement of the co operative societies had mitigated their problems to some extent. In the later years the peasants of the central Travancore region had moved away from the traditional crops and had started cultivation of natural rubber. Hence, the peasants holdings small areas of land had cleared other cultivation and cultivated rubber. The government of India had encouraged the extension of the rubber planting areas. This had not been viewed kindly by the rubber industry and the owners of the big plantations because they had feared the entry of the small planters would limit their manipulative capacity in the rubber market. They had joined together for devising tactics for denying remunerative price to the small and marginal farmers. The UPASI(United Planters Association of India) and the industry had worked at tandem. The industry had entered into advance bulk purchase agreements of the rubber from the large plantations. The industry had created artificial scarcity of rubber and had demanded for imports.The imported rubber was used as a buffer stock to control the price of the rubber reaching the market from the small and marginal farmers. By Ninteen sixties the proportion of natural rubber production from the small plantations (holdings lesser than5 hectares) had reached 90% of the total rubber production in the country
Prof:K. M. Chandy had taken the initiative to bring the co-operative societies to the rubber marketing activities. The Pala Marketing Society of which Prof: Chandy was the President; had jumped to the rubber market. He had also persuaded other co-operative societies to do the same. But it was only a temporary relief for the rubber growers. The rubber industry had refused to purchase rubber from the market. They had the political support. They could impress upon the commerce ministry that rubber production belonged to the big plantations and there was no serious crisis in this sector. They had argued that the small plantations had not followed scientific package of practices and these plantations were not economically viable. One of the leading Malayalam daily news paper belonged to an industrial group, which had owned many rubber industries. This daily had shed ‘Crocodile tears’ openly, while working against the interests of the farmers. They had influenced the state Congress politicians to further their interest. The Meenachil, Kanjirappilly , Thodupuzha and Muvattupuzha Taluks had formed the bulk of the small and marginal rubber growers. In these areas the daily had played tricks to weaken the Congress, while supporting a regional political party and its leaders. This group had ensured that no political leaders should emerge at national level from the rubber producing areas. They had thought that the emergence of a strong political leadership at the national level would give the small growers a lot of leverage in the central government. The paper had succeeded in some extend in this game. The Rubber Board had representatives of the rubber growers, the rubber industry and other stakeholders, but the growers had been represented by nominees of the big plantations. By 1965 the price of the natural rubber had fallen very low. The economy of Kerala had come under distress. Nobody had taken it as serious matter. Prof: K. M. Chandy, who had been taking rest after a motor accident had decided to take up the cause of the rubber rubber growers. He had founded the Indian Rubber Growers Association, and had become the President of the Association. He had led several delegation to the Commerce ministry and brought the plight of small farmers to the union government.The industrial lobby had countered this with the argument that the rubber was grown in large plantations and small plantations were not following scientific practices. Prof: Chandy had met Prime minister Mrs Indira Gandhi along with the rubber growers association members and apprised her about the real situation. Mrs Gandhi knew Prof:Chandy well. She had agreed to the most of his suggestions and requested the commerce ministry to send a tariff commission to study the problems of small plantations. The commerce ministry had constituted a high level Tariff commission consisting various experts. The Pala Marketing Society under the leadership of Prof: K. M. Chandy had taken steps receive the delegation and treat them properly. They had solicited the corporation of the other marketing societies also. The Tariff Commission members were taken to several rubber planters and were shown the rubber tapping, collection of the latex and processing of the latex. The planting practices, manuring, up keep of the plantations were also shown to the Commission members. The Commission had been well apprised of the cost of the various practices. The societies had explained the package of practices followed in small plantations. The planters religiously followed the package of practices suggested by the Rubber Board and they had frequently solicited the advice of field officials of the Board. The big plantations had never followed the scientific advice of the Rubber Board. The Tariff Commission was impressed by the hard work done. They had submitted a detailed report and had suggested more active involvement of both the Rubber Board and the Government of India. Prof :Chandy and his colleagues had dispelled the arguments of big plantations and the large rubber industrial lobby. The Rubber Growers Association had requested for support price for the natural rubber. Mrs Indira Gandhi had asked the union government to issue orders for giving minimum support price for the natural rubber. In1967 Government of India had passed orders giving minimum support price for the natural rubber. The Government of India had also nominated Prof:K. M. Chandy to the Rubber Board as representative of the rubber growers. Soon he had been elected as Vice chairman of the Board. As a Board member he had impressed upon the board to take active involvement in getting the order on the support price implemented. The industry had refused to purchase the natural rubber from the market. Prof: Chandy had brought up the plight of the rubber tappers before the board. The tappers had also suffered due to the fall in the price. The Rubber Board had introduced scholarships for dependent’s of rubber tappers. These scholarships had helped many in graduate and post graduate studies.
In 1972 Government of India appointed had Prof:K. M. Chandy chairman of the Rubber Board. During his tenure from 1972 to 1978 the board had made significant contribution for the development of the rubber plantations and the industry. The board had doubled the replantation subsidies for the replacement of the old plantations. It had also increased the grant for the new cultivation and subsidies for fertilisers and the equipments. More farmers had taken up rubber cultivation in various parts of Kerala, Karnataka and Tami Nadu. New plantations had come up in North eastern states and even in Andaman Nicobar islands. To monitor the market price rubber a committee of high level officials had been constituted. This committee had reported the daily market situation to the chairman. In order to ensure price stability the farmers co operative societies had been asked to enter into the market and given financial support including soft loans. In areas, where co operative societies were not available the farmers had been encouraged to form new societies or neighbouring societies had been asked to fill the vacuum. Since the industries had refused to purchase the rubber collected by the societies from the planters the rubber board had requested the commerce ministry to extend the service of the State Trading Corporation (STC) to procure the rubber from the farmers co operative societies. The State Trading Corporation had started procurement from the farmers societies and price of the natural rubber had stabilized. The board had also insisted that future imports of the rubber should be with the consent of the Rubber Board. During the tenure of Prof: K. M. Chandy as chairman of the Rubber Board the natural rubber growers had a golden era. He encouraged starting of the small industries using the natural rubber. The board also started crash courses on rubber technology for the young entrepreneurs. Small industries based on the latex technology appeared in many parts of Kerala. Many societies had formed crumb rubber units. Meanwhile the STC exported the natural rubber, which h caused increase in the market prices of the rubber.
Prof:K. M. Chandy had made the Rubber Board a farmer friendly institution within a short span. Both in headquarters and in field level there were a number of officials to address the grievances and problems of the farmers. The first act of the Prof: K. M. Chandy was to assess impact of the rubber board programmes on rubber growers. He had solicited the help of the Statics Department of Pala St. Thomas College for conducting a survey on the out reach of the board programmes. The study had revealed that majority of the rubber growers had difficulty to access the help of the board. He had initiated steps to bring rubber board to the door steps of rubber growers. He had organised several seminars and discussions in remote areas involving farmers and board officials.. These programmes had been made a regular feature. These programmes had created a new enthusiasm among the farmers . More peasants in non traditional rubber growing areas had come forward to start the plantations . Thus more plantations had come up in Malabar region and also in southern parts of the Kerala. Batches of farmers had been brought to the headquarters for interaction with the board officials regularly. The rubber board had a very small research wing. One of the changes Prof: Chandy had made was in the research wing. He had strengthened research department by allotting more funds and man power. He had started programmes for further education of the research workers and the field workers. Officials had been sent to universities for short term training courses. Research workers had been given fellowship for higher studies in the subjects related to the rubber research. During his tenure the research station had become a prominent wing of the Rubber Board. He had encouraged the research wing to take up new projects on plant breeding, rubber technologies and other areas. He had sought valuable advice from the various universities and experts. The BTech course on rubber technology in Cochin University of Science and Technology had been initiated by Prof: Chandy with the support of Prof: Joseph Mundassery. At that time the university had no building or campus to start any courses. They had prepared syllabus and curriculum based on the such programmes in international institutions. The university had agreed to provide funds for the libraries, laboratories and for inviting guest faculty.The teaching rooms, students staying facilities, canteen and transport had been arranged at Rubber Research Center campus Puthupilly Kottayam. On September 28th 1972 with 11 candidates the new course on the rubber technology had been inaugurated by Prof Joseph Mundassery, Vice-Chancellor of Cochin University of Science and Technology. First two batches had completed the course at Puthupilly campus. Later the courses had been shifted to Kalamassery campus of the university. The rubber research station had released several high yielding and disease resistant rubber plants for cultivation. One such plant “RR 105” is famous for it’s high latex yield and it’s resistance for fugal leaf fall. Hence, it does not require anti fungal spraying during monsoon. Prof:K. M. Chandy had noticed that internationally India was not considered as a rubber producing country. Hence, the Indian interests had not been considered at all in the international groups deciding on the present and the future policies on the rubber production and marketing. At his instance India had joined the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries and had started playing an active role in the International Rubber community. He had visited Washington and had negotiated with World Bank; obtained assistance for a huge rubber developmental project and this project had been successfully planned and executed. He had led a large number of delegation from India to the conferences of the International Rubber Study Group, the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries, and the International Rubber Research Development Board held at London, Kula Lumpur, Bangkok, Singapore etc.
Prof:K. M. Chandy had held the office of the chairman, Cardamom Board during 1974-1976 and it was during his tenure Cardamom Board had started research in cardamom plantation.