Productivity Improvement programs for rubber smallholders in Kegalle | Daily News


Productivity Improvement programs for rubber smallholders in Kegalle

EDB together with the Ministry of Plantation Industries, RDD and the RRI be organized a series of workshops to give small holder farmers the necessary awareness and knowledge on productivity improvement through adaptation of modern technology in the year 2019.

As a resource based technologically sophisticated industry with global linkages, the rubber industry plays an important role in Sri Lanka’s economy. Its centre of gravity has shifted rapidly to value addition from raw rubber production. This transformation needs to be nurtured, managed and consolidated to optimize benefits.

Rubber is the second most important plantation crop in Sri Lanka in terms of export earnings and employment generation. The rubber production of Sri Lanka has reduced over the past decade due to the changes in weather patterns, managerial inefficiencies, low productivity and lack of technology been applied in planting and tapping. Compared with global standards, Sri Lanka ranks low in terms of most productivity measures. Land productivity or latex yields in rubber plantations of Sri Lanka are below world averages.

The small holder rubber farmers contribute considerably to the total rubber production of the country. However, their production has reduced considerably due to inefficiencies in managing the cultivations, low productivity and lack of application of technology which has resulted in low yield and high cost of production.

Therefore, it has become vital that awareness is created among the rubber production value chain on production, productivity, application of technology and knowhow among the small holders.

The first workshop in this regard was held in Kegalle on May 31, for 40 selected small holder farmers. The workshop was on “Productivity Improvement for Rubber Small Holders through Adaptation of Modern Technology.” The objective of the workshop is to increase the national rubber production and overall productivity through popularizing proven modern technology practices among small holders to reduce the cost of production and enhance profitability in plantations and to ensure a sustainable supply chain for the rubber product industry in Sri Lanka.

The resource personnel for the workshop and the content development was carried out by the RRI. The RDD who is working closely with the EDB and the RRI will be involved in the follow up activities with the support of their Rubber Development Officers.

The Ministry of Plantation industries is supporting the initiative by coordinating the activities of the institutions under the Ministry to successfully conduct the workshop.

The participating rubber farmers were educated on early tapping, low intensity tapping, yield stimulation, application of rain guards and general knowledge on natural rubber prices fluctuations, global demand for natural rubber.

Continuous and close follow up on the implementation of the knowledge gained by farmers were carried out. Pilot trials were conducted by the 40 farmers in their own rubber plantations and the rubber yield monitored and analyzed by the officers of RDD and EDB.

Further a material package was given to the participating farmers as an incentive. Tapping knives and chemicals were provided by the RDD and the RRI respectively. Tapping head lights were donated by Camso Loadstar (Pvt) Ltd, one of the major rubber product manufacturers and exporter using Sri Lankan natural rubber.

The EDB is planning to organize the 2nd workshop in this regard in the Moneragala district to continue awareness on productivity improvement among the rubber small holders in collaboration with the Ministry of Plantation Industries, RRI and RDD.

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