03/01/2011

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SRI LANKA: Neglected rubber lands to be restored

Action has been taken to re-cultivate the large number of neglected rubber lands to increase new rubber plantation in the country, Plantation Industries Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said.The neglected lands have been found to be suitable for re-cultivation and the Government is taking steps to utilize the lands for this purpose, he said.Minister Samarasinghe was addressing an international workshop organized by the Rubber Research Institute on white root disease (WRD) affected in rubber plantations in Sri Lanka.There are large number of neglected lands belonging to plantation growers and companies. Budget 2010 had given an ultimatum to them either to cultivate these lands within six months or face the risk of alienation.These lands will be given to smallholders for cultivation after the ultimatum.The Minister said the Government will provide smallholders facilities to plant and replant rubber.Meanwhile, the Government has paid attention to increase rubber cultivation in the North and East.The rubber productivity dropped to 3,000 metric tons due to the war in the North and East.It is expected to increase productivity upto 10,000 mt by cultivating and re-cultivating rubber in these two regions this year.(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)

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