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Right about the economic contribution of tea and rubber

11 March 2019 10:47 am - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}



The Mawbima newspaper, on 4th February 2019, quoted the following statement made by MP Nalinda Jayathissa: the tea industry adds $1.5 billion to the economy of this country and the rubber industry adds $0.8 billion.

The MP specified a USD value which is used when referring to export data. Table 5.3 of the Central Bank Annual Report 2017 states the following.

Tea: The total export revenue of the tea industry in 2017 was $1.529 billion, which aligns with the MP’s claim.

Rubber: The total export revenue of rubber for 2017 was $38.9 million and the total export revenue of rubber products was $0.835 billion. Therefore, the total export revenue of the entire rubber industry was $0.874 billion. This too aligns with the MP’s claim.

As such, we classify MP Jayathissa’s statement as TRUE.

The MP’s statement was attempting to explain that these industries make a large contribution to the economy. The figures he quoted were the export statistics of the country. Thereby, the MP used export revenue as the measure of ‘adding to the economy’. However, if ‘adding to the economy’ was given a wider a meaning, such as ‘adding to GDP’, then the contribution by these industries would be even larger than the export revenue quoted by the MP, as these industries are not limited to just exports. 

Source: Table 5.3, Chapter 5, Central Bank Annual Report, 2017, available at:  This is a fact check published on on 6th March 2019. To provide feedback, please email


  Comments - 1

  • sacre blieu Friday, 15 March 2019 10:56 AM

    Are these figures for estate factory manufactured products and grades, without value addition.

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