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Sri Lanka grows rubber in new areas

July 09, 2013 (LBO) - Sri Lanka has expanded rubber cultivation into the non-traditional dryer regions of the island™s Eastern and Northern regions with the crop showing high yields in several pilot projects, a senior official said. "We have introduced rubber into the Eastern and Northern region," Gamini Seneviratne, director, Rubber Research Institute of Sri Lanka, a state-run research body, said.

"In the East we have earmarked Padiyathalawa, Mahaoya in Ampara district and Chenkaladi in Batticaloa district.

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"In the North the demonstration pilots were done with the help of the armed forces and the expected growth is satisfactory."

He was speaking at the Annual General meeting of the Colombo Rubber Traders Association.

A programme has been started to encourage local farmers to grow rubber in these areas after experts found that the climate and soil conditions were favourable for rubber cultivation.

"We have done quite a lot of experiments since 2004 in these regions," Seneviratne said.

"It took time for us to convince the people in these areas to cultivate rubber as they were used to cash crops and chena cultivation. It had to be shown that growing a perennial crop would g

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