- Highlights need for concerted effort to propel Sri Lanka’s rubber industry into the future
- Urges veterans to shy away from systematic mentality and embrace new ideas from young generation to pave way forward
- Insists on building strong brands, more finished rubber products to put Sri Lanka on the map
Celebrating 100 years of the rubber industry, the Colombo Rubber Traders’ Association (CRTA) called on all stakeholders to engage in a concerted effort to think afresh to harness the advantages the country holds to reclaim a competitive edge to propel Sri Lanka’s rubber industry into the future.
Colombo Rubber Traders’ Association (CRTA) Chairman Amanda Weerasinghe
Addressing the Centennial Celebratory Gala Dinner of CRTA, its Chairman Amanda Weerasinghe highlighted the need for a new mindset and collective effort to reinvent Sri Lanka’s rubber industry.
“I think all agree that it is time to change the tone of the industry. We need to look to the future, we need to examine how we need to do business, reinvent the auctions by incorporating advanced technologies, while upholding human value. We need a contribution from all industry stakeholders to harness technology and contribute to increase production and restore the glory days when rubber was one of Sri Lanka’s largest exports,” he added.
However, to do so Weerasinghe pointed out that it was important for all interested parties to be open to the possibilities.
“We need to harness and hone the dynamism and idealism of the younger generation. It is this idealism in the last century that paved the way for the vision of our forefathers and mothers to become a reality. I challenge you to shy away from a systematic mentality and embrace these new ideas and guide them with our experience,” he asserted.
Weerasinghe also said that the rubber sector needed to draw inspiration from other industries, particularly the tea trade.
“We must build strong brands that are part of the current conversation and create more finished rubber products to put Sri Lanka on the map.”
Despite Sri Lanka having many advantages in comparison to other neighbouring economies in the region such as an ideal geographic location, high literacy, English proficiency and the highest per capita to the GDP, he stressed that those countries still continued to manipulate the rubber industry.
“Sri Lanka’s per capita to GDP is $ 4,000, while it is $ 1,939 in India and $2,342 in Vietnam. Yet they continue to dominate us in our industry. Thus, we need to go back to our drawing boards and ask ourselves how we are going to harness those advantages of Sri Lanka to benefit and reclaim our competitive edge,” he said.
Weerasinghe also noted that it was the task of the experienced industrialists to be visionaries, especially during turbulent times, who in the future will be praised, and continue a legacy to reinvent to serve the times.
“We cannot become complacent. We need to learn from our successors, the pioneers, and their amazing journey. We need to collectively take a step forward and propel ourselves into the future,” he added.
Weerasinghe commended Chief Guest, Speaker of Parliament Karu Jayasuriya, who had been in the industry many years ago, for his contribution to the rubber industry, insisting it was more than noteworthy.