The Sri Lankan rubber industry consists of three main sectors namely the plantation industry that grows and harvest latex, the rubber products manufacturing industry and the rubber wood based industry. The value-added rubber products manufacturing sector has recently emerged as the key driving force in the industrial based development of the economy.
According to the Rubber Research Institute (RRI), the rubber production would increase substantially if the producers use modern technology. The rubber industry is going through a major breakthrough with the booming prices in the world market due to heavy Chinese consumption. Today most of the rubber smallholders, regional plantation companies tap rubber in a big way even in abandoned lands while some of them use rain guards to tap rubber during the rainy season due to these price increases.
RRI developed rain guards for tapping are being widely used by companies in Sri Lanka. With the increase of world market prices most of the abandoned rubber lands and high yielding zones are in commercial operations. Out of the total rubber production, 70 per cent is used for value added products while the balance 30 per cent is exports as foam or crepe rubber. Further, Sri Lanka also imports substantial amount of rubber from India, Thailand and Vietnam to feed the value added rubber industry.
The government has taken many initiatives to increase the production by extending the rubber subsidy for plantation companies, which was only offered to smallholders in the country for below five acres. It is estimated that by 2010 there would be a huge demand for rubber in the world market. It is predicted that a three million-tonne shortfall in the world market would occur and no country is in a position to meet the demand. The reason being that the Chinese rubber consumption has increased due to the increase in usage by the vehicle industry.
At present, rubber re-plantation programmes are underway in both traditional and non-traditional areas in the country. If all rubber lands used the new technology and rain guards for tapping, it would increase the production immensely.
Last Updated on: 17-05-2010