Falling natural rubber production in Sri Lanka might deter new investments in rubber products manufacturing, according to the industry. Rubber estates in the wet zone, which is also where much of Sri Lanka’s population is concentrated, are being repurposed for other uses like industry and housing, leading to a crop decline.
Global rubber prices have also been volatile and the commercial case for the crop is weak in parts of the county where it has been grown traditionally. However, with government support, the crop is being introduced to the dry zone provinces of North and Uva. Rubber was transplanted here from South American rainforests. It thrives in wet conditions. So its introduction as an agricultural crop in Sri Lanka’s dry zone is being closely watched.
Natural rubber production decline in the five years to 2017
Sri Lanka’s rubber product exports in 2017, up 11% from the year before
Price of RSS3 grade rubber in Singapore as at Dec 18 – a 40% price decline from a year earlier