Sri Lanka rubber industry will be getting a new boost following the appointment of an inter-institutional committee to increase value addition, resolve industry issues and make policy recommendations to the Government, official sources said.
Under this initiative the government plans to cash in on increased demand caused by COVID-19 with Export Development Board (EDB) setting US $ 998 million earnings target for rubber in 2021.
Cabinet has approved the appointment of an inter-institutional committee to increase value addition, resolve industry issues and make policy recommendations to the Government.
The Cabinet of Ministers recently approved a proposal submitted by Plantations Minister Dr. Ramesh Pathirana for the appointment of this committee for the development of rubber cultivation and related industries.
The Government Information Department said the committee will be comprised of relevant line ministry representatives and headed by the Plantation Ministry Secretary.
It will focus on increasing value addition of rubber products, resolving industry issues and providing policy recommendations to the Government.
The move comes as the Government attempts to boost production of rubber gloves, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other items for imports to meet demand created by the COVID-19 pandemic. The rubber industry has also received a boost from high tire production last year.
Growing global commodity prices are also expected to boost demand and prices by as much as 1% this year, according to a report released by ICRA Lanka.
Sri Lanka’s rubber sector needs more investments, private and public, foreign and local, and thereby common industry infrastructure facilities will improve, Samson International PLC (SIL), one of the largest rubber product manufacturers in Sri Lanka stated.
Samson International PLC, which is a subsidiary of the DSI Samson Group (Pvt) Ltd earns more than Rs. 600 million per year from exports of rubber- related products such as sealing rings, hot water bottles and mats & floorings etc.
Sri Lanka exports almost all types of natural rubber available in the market including ribbed smoked sheet rubber, latex crepe rubber, scrap crepe, all grades of technically specified rubber, centrifuged latex and specially rubbers.
Presently, Sri Lanka produces around 81,000 metric tons of natural rubber annually. Sri Lanka prides itself in manufacturing a number of value added rubber products by processing raw rubber.
These products include extrusion products like rubber bands, beadings, rubber latex products such as medical, industrial and household gloves, industrial products like hose, auto parts, industrial components, tyres, tubes, automotive and aviation tyres and general rubber products like rubber flooring, floor mats, carpets, sports goods, footwear, hot water bottles and related components.