14 March 2012

Sri Lanka to Plant Rubber in North and East Provinces. 2011 Rubber Industry Grew 58.7pct Earning $885mn

14th March 2012, www.ft.lk

Sri Lanka is exploring the possibility of expanding the rubber industry to the former war-torn North and East Provinces, an official said yesterday.

Lands have already been allocated to be developed as plantations, according to Rubber Research Institute Director General W.M.G Seneviratne.

In 2010, around 25 acres were cultivated in the north and the Government is keen to increase this amount, he said adding that the Eastern Province target was to increase the current 300 acres to 10,000 acres by the end of this year.

Additional discussions on identifying lands and related issues were discussed at a special meeting with Government Agents on Monday.  Government Agents from the northern areas of Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi and Vavuniya are already part of the meetings. They will be part of a special steering committee to assess the feasibility of increasing rubber plantations in the region. Military personnel will also be part of this body, remarked Seneviratne. However, the research institute only receives a budgetary allocation of Rs. 2.5 million to carry out its work.

Sri Lanka is considered to be the world’s ninth largest exporter of natural rubber. In 2011 the rubber industry grew 58.7 per cent, reaching US$ 884.8 million. In 2010 rubber earned only US$ 557.6 million, according to the Central Bank External Sector Performance Report.

Last year’s demand was mostly driven by China and India, which absorbed most of the global market as prices of synthetic rubber continued to increase due to high oil costs. The trends are expected to continue in 2012.

Related Info :

Sri Lanka Expands Rubber Cultivation in the Face of Synthetic Rubber Price Increase

Natural Rubber Fetches over Rs 600 a Kg at Sri Lanka's Colombo Rubber Auction

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