With the recent changes in prices for rubber in the world market, the rubber price in Sri Lanka too has witnessed a decline with the average price for 2018 been LKR 275 per kg. “Been in the top standings of the production of rubber in the world, it is somewhat disappointing to find the standing gone down,” said Chairman, Colombo Rubber Traders Association (CRTA), Amanda Weerasinghe. The annual export for rubber has also decreased to 25,000 tons from 70,000 to 80,000 tons.
However, many new job opportunities have been created in the value-added industry. Loosing rubber cultivated lands for development projects like expansion of villages, industrial zones and palm cultivation has affected the manufacturing process immensely. Many industries are compelled to import rubber to the country for their manufacturing processes as the local industry is incapable of fulfilling the demand. “I am personally not happy about the future of this industry. Innovations are critical to uplift this industry and all parties should cooperate with this,” Weerasinghe said.
Meanwhile CRTA also launched a centennial postage stamp to commence their 100thanniversary on Tuesday, 27 November 2018. The occasion was graced by Minister of Postal and Telecommunication C.V Rathnayake, and Minister of Plantation Industries S.M Chandrasena. According to S.M Chandrasena, there is no significant progress in the rubber industry. However various researches are on the way to find solutions to uplift this industry. “Due to the low prices of rubber, people are uprooting rubber plantations and looking at alternatives.”
The Rubber Committee of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, which had identified the interests of the rubber trade since 1891, identified the need for a separate forum to promote the interests of the rubber industry. Hence the CRTA was formally inaugurated in 1918 to meet these requirements. Since then, CRTA has been assisting rubber dealers, exporters and owners to develop this industry to acquire profits. “Our basic plantation industries are tea, rubber and coconut. Therefore, as a member of the cabinet we must take steps to develop these to uplift the economy,” said C.V Rathnayake.