Sri Lanka to encourage rubber production for tires

June 28, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is to encourage small farmers to produce more of a rubber grade suitable for tire manufacture which is in demand, officials said. Plantations industries minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said a policy decision was taken recently aimed at increasing production of the RSS 3 type rubber grade.

Although most people think RSS 1 is the best and it is, the biggest demand is for RSS 3, he said.

That™s what big industrialists want. They are the main buyers of rubber.

Industry officials said rubber prices have been at record highs in recent months owing to production shortages and rising demand as the world comes out of recession.

They said the local industry prefers the RSS 3 grade in preference to RSS 1, which although considered the best grade, is about 10 rupees more expensive than RSS 3.

Rubber is graded according to their visual appearance and there is not much difference between the physical properties of the main grades.

RSS 3 is the grade used in tire manufacture, demand for which is on the rise as automobile production picks up after recession, driven by booming demand in markets like China