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The origin of research on rubber goes back to 1909, when a group of planters in the Kalutara District met and agreed to engage a Chemist to study the coagulation of rubber. This was later expanded to form a Rubber Research Scheme in 1913, with 60% Government funds and the balance came from private subscribers.

The Rubber Research Ordinance was incorporated on the 30th August 1930 and the laboratories of the scheme were moved to its present location at Dartonfield, Agalawatte, in 1936. The Rubber Research Scheme was named the Rubber Research Institute of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in 1951, by an amendment of the original Act of Parliament. This shows that the Rubber Research Institute of Sri Lanka (RRISL) is the oldest Research Institute on rubber in the world. It has a proud record of service to the industry by developing technologies in plant breeding, agro-management practices and chemistry of raw rubber.

According to the Rubber Research Ordinance a Rubber Research Board is established for the purpose of furthering and developing the rubber industry. The Board governs the RRISL with the view of managing, conducting, encouraging and promoting scientific research in respect of rubber cultivation, processing, product manufacture and all problems connected with the rubber industry. This Ordinance has been amended from time to time; the most recent introduction has been the “Rubber Research Bill Part II of April 2003 with the amendment No. 28”.

RRISL is the nodal agency in Sri Lanka with the statutory responsibility for research and development on all aspects of rubber cultivation and processing for the benefit of the rubber industry.

The institute specializes in rubber research, both in the biology of the crop and the chemistry of the natural rubber and technology of the product. Further, the institute is committed towards technology transfer activities and training of extension officers and stakeholders. Accordingly, it has six biological research departments: i.e. Plant Science, Genetics & Plant Breeding, Plant Pathology & Microbiology, Soils & Plant Nutrition, Biochemistry & Plant Physiology and Advisory Services and four chemistry departments i.e. Raw Rubber Process Development & Chemical Engineering, Raw Rubber & Chemical Analysis, Polymer Chemistry and Raw Rubber Technology & Development together with units for Adaptive Research, Biometry, Agricultural Economics and Audio Visual Production.
The anagement and staff of all estates and smallholders are important clients of the institute. Close links have always been maintained between all these groups, by constant interaction. The raw rubber and rubber goods manufacturers, the consumers of raw rubber and raw rubber latex exporters are the other group of institute’s clients.

Advisory Services Department of the RRISL caters to the needs of the smallholders and assists the smallholders to sell their latex or to produce quality smoked sheets. Advisory wing of the RRISL also gives emphasis to marketing of rubber and also to introduce new technologies to rubber growers and small scale industrialists.
       Increase productivity to potential levels of the crop.
    Increase national production of NR to meet the increasing demand.
     Optimal and sustainable utilization of land, labour and other resources.
     Maximize domestic value addition to rubber
     Encourage individual competency and self development of RRISL personnel, and in the process, improve the
  organizational effectiveness of the institute.
   Transfer the developed technologies through training and advisory services.
        Offers around 15 promising clones, developed by Sri Lankan Scientists with more than five fold yields compared to the
           productivity of rubber trees in their original habitat.
        Soil and foliar analysis for site specific fertilizer recommendations.
        A special diagnostic team for trouble shooting in agricultural practices and raw rubber processing aspects.
        Planting materials from latest clone introductions to establish source bush nurseries and issue quality certification of all
           planting materials issued to stakeholders.
        Plant protection systems for all maladies of the rubber tree and provide early warning on disease epidemics and advice
          on mitigating unforeseen disasters.
        Testing quality of waste water, dry rubber, latex, latex products, rubber compounds and fertilizer, and issue
           certificates recognized by local authorities.
        Training in all aspects of rubber cultivation, post harvest technology, and plantation management.
        An extension wing to assist the rubber cultivation and processing in smallholder sector.
        Guidance to solve and manage environmental issues connected with discharge of wastewater generating from raw
          rubber, latex processing and rubber product manufacturing industries in Sri Lanka.
        Development of value added natural rubber based materials and also rubber compounds for latex and dry rubber
           products to suit the end user requirements or in compliance with the standard specifications.
        Project feasibility and planning studies, designs, plans for setting up of raw rubber and latex processing industries.