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Sunday, 29 November 2009

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Plantation sector performs well

Plantation sector performed well during the first nine months of this year in which tea, rubber and coconut sub sectors have achieved a significant growth, said the Minister of Plantation D.M. Jayarathne.

Tea production has increased to 280 million Kg and annual production will exceed to 290 million Kg. During this period 213 million Kg exports earned Rs. 97 billion revenue. Average FOB price of tea recorded Rs. 454 Kg and it was Rs. 435 in 2008. This is a 19% price increase, the minister said.

The Minister said that 5,600 tonns of tea have been imported during the period for blending and Rs. 3.5 billion earned by re-exporting them. For the sustainable growth in the sector government has issued new orders to plantation companies. Accordingly the companies should start replanting, at least 2% for every year, maintain forest cover in the area and provide welfare to the workers.

Also government has directed the plantation companies to start reforestation in barren land. Tea small holders contribute 72% towards the total tea production and the government gives all assistance to provide fertiliser subsidy. Sri Lanka also export tea to 50 countries the Minister said. During this year trade exhibitions were held in five countries, he said.

The highest rubber production is reported in this year and during the first nine months 102,000 tonns were produced. Value of the rubber export is 7.5 billion. Areas for rubber cultivation have been identified and government has planned to cultivate 1000 hectares of rubber in the Monaragala district. Rubber cultivation will also be started in the Anuradhapura district and the Eastern province next year.

Coconut sector too performed well during the year and estimated yield is 2,859 million nuts. As the government imposed 28% tax on palm oil imports the production of coconut oil increased.

The Government has also launched a coconut replantation program and during this year 8,156 acres of land were replanted.

Another 1,682 acres of coconut lands were rehabilitated and replantation has been extended to North and East provinces, the minister said.

(GW)

 

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