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Город: Москва
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8 (800) 300-65-10

Rubber exports on track to reach $ 1 b in 2021

Sri Lanka’s rubber exports are on track to achieve $ 1 billion in export revenue this year, making it the first time the annual rubber exports will touch the $ 1 billion mark.


During the budget debate last Saturday (27), Minister of Plantation Dr. Ramesh Pathirana described 2021 as a historic year for Sri Lanka’s plantation industry and stated that as per forecasts, export revenue from rubber products is expected to exceed $ 1 billion for the first time in history.


This remarkable performance will be recorded despite the fact that many local rubber plantations have been devastated by a leaf fall disease caused by pestalotiopsis (a fungus). So far, around 20,000 hectares of the 107,000 hectares of rubber cultivated land have been impacted by this disease.


According to the Rubber Research Institute of Sri Lanka (RRISL), this leaf fall disease is expected to decrease productivity by 70-90% in the worst-affected areas and by around 30-50% in moderate-affected areas.


Speaking to The Morning Business, RRISL Additional Director Dr. V.H.L. Rodrigo stated that the disease is still ravaging through local plantations and in certain areas it has gone out of control.


He further explained that Sri Lanka was able to achieve an export revenue of $ 1 billion in 2021 from rubber product exports – despite the yield drop observed as a result of the leaf fall disease – due to the fact that only a limited amount of export earnings from rubber is generated from the export of raw material; the remainder is generated from value-added products and the value-added rubber industry supplements its input requirements through natural rubber imports.


“In Sri Lanka, around 90% of locally produced rubber is value-added within the country. Only around 10% of the rubber produced in Sri Lanka is exported in raw form, and that too is exported to niche markets such as medical industries which require high-grade rubber. The remainder is consumed locally and value-added in the form of tyres and gloves. The rubber requirement for such value addition requires the importation of rubber – especially BOI companies are allowed to import rubber in order to run their companies at full capacity,” stated Dr. Rodrigo.


Only around 50% of the local demand and value addition is satisfied by local rubber production, thereby resulting in more than 50% of raw materials being imported by other countries to facilitate local manufacturers.


DSI Samson Emeritus Managing Director Kulathunga Rajapaksha, speaking to us, called on the Government to expand the rubber planting area and set up new plantations. According to him, previously local plantations produced around 10,000 kg of natural rubber, including latex per month, but now this has fallen to around 5,000 kg per month, which is insufficient to satisfy the requirement of the local consumption and value addition.