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Wed, 13 December 2017 18:15:19
Sri Lanka needs to export value added rubber products to reach $3bn target in 2020: Official
01 Sep, 2014 15:15:26
September 01, 2014 (LBO) – Sri Lanka needs to export more value added rubber products than raw rubber to achieve the government set target of three billion US dollars in 2020 says an official from export development board.
“The theme of government is to grow rubber, aiming to increase raw rubber production in Sri Lanka,” Bandula Egodage, Chairman and CEO of Export Development Board said.

“We discourage raw rubber exports,”

“We are not curtailing raw rubber production in Sri Lanka but promoting rubber based exports,”

“We need to go for value addition rather than selling raw.”

He was addressing the launching ceremony of Global Rubber Conference (GRC) 2014, an annual global conference on rubber sector, co – organized by the Export Development Board and the Confexhub, Malaysia which scheduled to be held on 27th to 30th October in Sri Lanka.

The conference provides a platform for rubber products experts, policy makers, captains of industry and investors platform to converge and meet face to face to discuss a wide spectrum of commercial, R&D developments and 2014-’15 price outlook.

Egodage said Sri Lanka require high tech, foreign expertise, networking, awareness, research and development to build the industry.

“We need expertise and high tech to help the industry to boost,” Egodage said LBO.

“This is an old industry which we can build and get revenue into the country while selling value added products for global demand.”

Sri Lanka is world’s sixth largest rubber exporter and eighth largest natural rubber producing country in the world.

An about 70 percent of global rubber production goes to the tyre industry.

Sri Lanka aims to make the rubber sector a 3.0 billion US dollar industry in 2020, a top official said.

Sri Lanka rubber exports has increased to 960 million dollars in 2013 up from 100 percent from year 2009.

In 2013, Sri Lanka exported 72 million dollars of natural rubber and 887 million dollar of rubber finished products.

“To arrive at this three billion dollars in a viable manner, it is essential for us to support our rubber farmers.” Rishad Bathiudeen Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka said.

However experts say the rubber prices are not so conducive in the global market currently but will bounces back soon.

About 65 percent of the total planted rubber in Sri Lanka are owned by small farmers.

“Therefore for Sri Lanka, apart from country’s historic reputation for natural rubber, there is an important “socio-economic” reason to enhance this sector,” Bathiudeen said.

“It would also be useful for us to introduce re-planting assistance,”

“This could be funded by a temporary rubber cess, during times of high earnings from rubber exports.”

Bathiudeen said about 203 rubber plantation and rubber based industries are in Sabaragamuwa and Western provinces according to the recent data.

More than 10,000 rubber industry jobs are active in Western province with 815 new jobs have being created in 2013.

“It was also found there is a lack of skilled people in support services such as die and mould design and manufacturing,” Bathiudeen said.

“We found that training is needed to be provided for all job categories in both latex rubber sector and rubber product manufacturing sector.”

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