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DateLine Friday, 26 December 2008

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Halt on rubber imports to stabilise prices

The Government has decided to stop importing natural rubber to stabilise prices in the local market.

Mass Media and Information Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa at a media briefing to announce Cabinet decisions said the Cabinet has granted approval for a memorandum submitted by Plantation Industries Minister D. M. Jayarathna to put a stop to natural rubber imports.

The price of natural rubber has recorded a steady decline since September due to the global economic melt down. Today, the price has decreased from Rs.398 per Kilo in May to Rs.120, which is considered to be even lower than the production cost.

At the beginning of December, the average production cost of a sheet of rubber stood at Rs.125.

Around 150,000 families directly and 1,500,000 indirectly make their livelihoods through the rubber industry. The total rubber extent is 119,543 hectares of which the small holders sector covers 69,676 hectares.

The import of natural rubber for production activities is considered one of the root causes for the the price decline. The initiative to stop imports is expected to up the prices in the local market.

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