THE Rubber Research Institute had started research and experiments to see whether it was possible to cultivate rubber in Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and Vavuniya Districts, Plantation Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said in Parliament yesterday.
Minister Samarasinghe said that there is a growing demand for natural rubber products in the world today, and therefore he said that plans are afoot to expand the rubber cultivation outside traditional areas.
Traditionally rubber is cultivated in Kegalle, Ratnapura, Kalutara and Gampaha Districts.
The Minister said that experiments to cultivate rubber in the Moneragala District have been successful.
“Our idea is to cultivate rubber in 5,000 hectares in Moneragala. Already, cultivation has started in 3,000 hectares. Within the next couple of years, we will start cultivating the remaining 2,000 hectares,” he said.
He also said that rubber would be cultivated in the areas of Mahaoya and Padiyatalawa in the Ampara District, and the initial work had already been done for this purpose.
Altogether, rubber has been cultivated in 124,596 hectares in the country. Last year, the total rubber production was 152,987 tons, and 30 per cent of it was exported. Small holdings account for around sixty per cent of the total cultivation.