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Lanka vying for $3B rubber sector

As the first ever Global Rubber Confab to be held in Sri Lanka is announced the country positioned its historic rubber industry to be a $ 3B sector. And a top global rubber body voiced that rubber prices would recover ‘before very long’. “We are now aiming at an ambitious $3B rubber industry in the coming decade. To arrive at this $3B in a viable manner, it is essential for us to support our rubber farmers. I believe it is time for a long term development plan for this sector. The 2013 rubber exports of $960 Mn is a 100% increase compared to rubber exports five years ago” said Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce recently in Colombo.Minister Bathiudeen was addressing the launch event of Global Rubber Conference 2014 to be held in October in Colombo. The first Global Rubber Conference (GRC) ever to be held in Sri Lanka, it is co-organised by the Export Development Board under Minister Bathiudeen as well as Confexhub, Malaysia. GRC, a leading global conference on rubber sector, in collaboration with Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Industry and Commerce and Ministry of Plantation Industries, to provide rubber and rubber products experts and policy makers, captains of industry and serious investors a platform to converge and meet face to face to discuss a wide spectrum of commercial, R&D developments and 2014-’15 price outlook.

Members of Sri Lankan media landscape, top reps from rubber manufacturing and exporting firms, officials from the collaborating Ministries, Sujatha Weerakoone (DG-EDB) and Dr Yousuf Maraikkar (ED-EDB) participated at the event.“We know that natural rubber constitutes almost one third of world’s total rubber supply. It is also of great importance to a country like Sri Lanka not only because of its exports but also the employment rates on this sector which is considerable” said Minister Bathiudeen, and added: “As a result, our government, under the vision of HE the President Mahinda Rajapaksa, is now aiming at an ambitious $3B rubber industry in the coming decade. To arrive at this $3B in a viable manner, it is essential for us to support our rubber farmers. 65 percent of the total planted rubber in Sri Lanka are owned by such 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.