Rubber exports slight decline to US $900 million in 2022 from $ 1 billion in 2021
Sri Lanka has earned Rs 327 billion (US $900 million) in 2022 by exporting rubber products and this was a slight drop from 2021 revenue of $1 billion, the Rubber Development Department DG Madawa Kulasuriya said.
However, the South Asian country intends to increase revenue from rubber products to $3 billion by 2025, he revealed.
Major markets for finished rubber products are the US, Germany and Japan, while Pakistan, Germany and Japan are major markets for natural rubber from Sri Lanka, he added.
Sri Lanka is one of leading natural rubber exporters in the world, and in 2021 around 70 per cent of income from rubber exports came as tyres, according to official data.
Government is set to address challenges present in the rubber industry and to attract foreign investment with an aim to expand the local rubber industry in Sri Lanka,
The Sri Lanka Association of Manufacturers and Exporters of Rubber Industry (SLAMERP) and the Board of Investment (BOI) are also currently in the process of initiating a new rubber investment zone in Sri Lanka to improve manufacturing
Sri Lanka is considering controlling rubber imports for export industries in a bid to keep domestic rubber prices up, Cabinet spokesman Minister Bandula Gunawardana said.
Sri Lanka export industries approved by the Board of Investment are allowed to import rubber when required. Some tyre firm in particular need lower grade rubber which are not available in sufficient quantities.
Plantations Industries Minister Ramesh Pathirana had informed cabinet that authorities were looking to control rubber imports to keep domestic prices up, Gunawardana said. Sri Lanka’s latex prices in particular had dropped reducing incomes for farmers, he said.
In the year 2017, the Sri Lankan Ministry of Plantation Industries introduced a 9-year Rubber Master Plan aimed to help, develop, and expand the rubber industry’s market share.
As the global demand for rubber products is expected to increase, Sri Lankan rubber manufacturers can expect to earn an income of $3 billion from exports by 2026.
Under the 9-year plan, the Sri Lankan government plans to increase the land area under rubber cultivation by 3000 hectares. This means increasing the production of raw materials in the future by increasing rubber production in traditional rubber growing areas.
And as a result, new plantations will be started in places like Monaragala, Vavuniya, Hambantota, Ampara, and Puttalam.
According to export Development Board (EDB) 70 percent of natural rubber production in Sri Lanka is consumed by the rubber products manufacturing sector for local sales or predominantly for the lucrative export market.
Even so, Sri Lanka is only capable of producing 50 percent or less of the demand, thereby resulting in 50percent of raw materials being imported from other countries to facilitate local manufacturers.