ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan manufacturers of natural rubber products have urged the government to allocate more money for rubber cultivation in its budget for 2019 to revive dwindling production.
The Sri Lanka Association of Manufacturers and Exporters of Rubber Products (SLAMERP) said in a statement the rubber industry is the fourth largest export sector in the country with total sales of almost a billion dollars.
It has major growth potential and the ability to further diversify its product base, it said.
In 2017, Sri Lanka’s rubber product exports were estimated at US$855 million, up about 11% from the year before.
However, the rubber production in the country grew only 7% to 85,000 tons in 2017, with the local demand for rubber being almost 130,000 tons.
SLAMERP chairman Prabhash Subasinghe one of biggest challenges the industry is facing is the availability of raw material for value added production.
He urged the government to help in increasing yields through research and development support and expansion of rubber plantations to meet international demand.
The industry today has to depend on raw material imports owing to a decline in local production, he said.
“We are working closely with all government authorities to overcome this challenge and we have requested the support of the government to increase the rubber plantations and allocate money for the sector in the upcoming budget for 2019.”
Subasinghe also said technological advancements and testing facilities is key requirement that needs to be enhanced to improve the industry’s international competitiveness.
SLAMERP recently held a rubber testing workshop with the Rubber Research Institute (RRI) and the Export Development Board (EDB).
(COLOMBO, 02 August, 2018)