SRI LANKA: Rubber to be grown in North and East

Under this programme, a research team appointed to look into the feasibility of rubber cultivation in areas of the North and East has confirmed that certain parts of the provinces are suitable for rubber cultivation. At the initial stage rubber will be cultivated in the Vavuniya, Mulaitivu and Kilinochchi districts and later expanded to the other districts in the North and East.

'It has been identified that the annual rubber production has to be increased to 200,000 Mt from 150,000 Mt to meet the local and international demand. Of the 150,000 Mt of the current annual production, 70 percent is used for value-addition products while the balance 30 percent is exported. Therefore, there is a potential market share for another 50,000 Mt of rubber, Minister Samarasinghe added.

Dr Lakxman Rodrigo who led the research team said that the success rate of their research is 50 percent. However, this rate is fairly sufficient for cultivating rubber successfully. Ground water level and soil condition is fairly good for rubber cultivation. As the final outcome of research, it has been revealed that rubber can be cultivated successfully in certain parts of North and East.

He further added that a 50 acre nursery is being maintained by the ministry to supply necessary rubber saplings. According to him, a smallholder can get Rs 50,000 monthly profit from an acre of rubber.

Source: "Daily News", Colombo; 30 Nov 2011

(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)