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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2554

USAID Boosts Sri Lanka’s Rubber Sector

Colombo, 13 July, (Asiantribune.com): The rubber industry began in Sri Lanka in the 1800s, but only recently became a thriving manufacturing sector. To support Sri Lanka’s re-emergence into the global rubber market, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) helped launch a three-year, graduateship course in rubber technology at the Plastics & Rubber Institute of Sri Lanka (PRISL) headquarters in Rajagiriya.USAID Sri Lanka Mission Director Rebecca Cohn presents PRISL President Ananda Kaldera with computer equipment for the new USAID-supported library at the Institute’s headquarters. (Photo: Zack Taylor/USAID)USAID Sri Lanka Mission Director Rebecca Cohn presents PRISL President Ananda Kaldera with computer equipment for the new USAID-supported library at the Institute’s headquarters. (Photo: Zack Taylor/USAID)

The Sri Lankan rubber industry realized the need for more trained personnel operating at higher technological and managerial levels as competition has increased due to innovations and challenges from emerging rubber industries in countries such as China and Vietnam.

“As a small producer that accounts for around 1.5% of the world’s natural rubber production, Sri Lanka must aim at marketing niche products of high value to improve profits,” USAID Mission Director Rebecca Cohn told the incoming students and the PRISL management. “New technology has the potential to be used in the rubber industry to develop innovative products and processes.

Therefore, access to research and development, appropriate training, and education are crucial for the industry in Sri Lanka to gain a competitive advantage. It is up to the private sector to provide such high quality training for the industry to become truly relevant, efficient, and cost-effective, and that is what this course is intended to do.”

PRISL President Ananda Kaldera acknowledged during the launch that, “this course of study will be the vehicle with which we make a lasting, meaningful contribution to the rubber industry.” USAID assistance to PRISL dates back to 1991 when they participated in USAID’s Technology Initiatives for the Private Sector, or TIPS, project.

- Asian Tribune -

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