Sri Lanka’s export in 2021 from rubber product sector has achieved US$ 1 Bn income and the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) intends to increase it to US$ 3 Bn by 2025. It is imperative to produce superior-quality rubber products in order to achieve this target. The EDB expects that the proposed dedicated industrial zone in Horana for rubber-based manufacturing firms would soon become a reality.
Over the past few years, the EDB has implemented a number of export-oriented programmes to increase the export income from rubber-based products. Assisting export firms to obtain ISO 14001 and 50001 quality certificates, enabling the participation of export firms in technical training programmes in Malaysia and the UK, sending SME enterprises to trade fact-finding missions which were required for trade exhibitions in Germany and Turkey, aiding the Rubber Research Institute to establish a laboratory in accordance with international standards to conduct research on tyres, implementing a number of pilot projects to increase the productivity of rubber plantations in few districts in collaboration with Rubber Development Department, Rubber Research Institute, and the Ministry of Plantation Industries were some of those initiatives .
Sri Lanka occupies a prominent place among rubber-producing countries in the world, and it is renowned for producing top-quality rubber products. Currently, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, India, and African countries are recognised as the major rubber-producing countries in the world that have achieved a significant growth in rubber production.
Sri Lanka’s rubber production in 2020 was 78,206 MT and approximately US$ 30 million was earned by exporting raw rubber. Sri Lanka is also one of the leading crepe rubber-producing countries in the world. In 2020, Sri Lanka earned US$ 786 million from rubber-based products and out of that US$ 425 million was earned from tyre-related products.
Sri Lanka holds close to a 30% share of the global solid tyre market and more than 10 internationally renowned companies manufacture and export products under international brand names. Continental, Camso, Solideal, GRI, DSI, Orions, Solimax are some of the key brands present in Sri Lanka.
There is a huge demand for medical rubber gloves produced in Sri Lanka due to the COVID pandemic. Last year, US$ 250 million income was earned from rubber glove exports. Particularly, the demand for medical gloves is increasing rapidly.
There are more than 100 rubber and rubber-based export companies in Sri Lanka and about 50,000 workers are employed in these firms (both BOI and non-BOI). The rubber industry provides livelihoods to about 300,000 people via direct and indirect jobs.