ALBIZIA AND RUBBER FOR PLVWOOD TEA CHESTS
AbstractAnnually. over 230 million worth of plywood tea chest panels arc imported to Sri Lanka forhulk packing and transport of tea. Despite the fact that a number of alternative bulk packingmaterials have hcen developed for the tea industry in the recent past. the popularity and thedemand for the traditional tea chest has not declined. In fact the plywood tea chest panelimport figures for thc past decade shows a steady increase on the consumption level despitethe introduction of paper craft and jumbo hags. There is a drastic drop in the level of localproduction of plywood tca chest panels due to shortages in the supply of soft wood speciesused for thc manufacture purpose. Supply of tea chest panels by thc plywood corporationwhich was the major supplier of panels to the local tea industry came to a halt with itsclosure in 1998. Now most of the industrial requirement of plywood tca chest panels arcbeing imported. Although a few local entrepreneurs started manufacturing tea chest panelsmainly for their own consumption, it faces severe competition due to cheap and low qualityimported panels. However, a much cheaper and better quality panel for tea chest can hesuccessfully manufactured, using the locally available albizia and rubber wood. A bettergrade of plywood panel than the ones imported and sold in the market for Rs. 140.00 perset, can he manufactured locally for Rs. 88.00. Since the small scale tea chest panclmanufacturing is labour intensive and involves only low technology. the industry canprovide job opportunities to a considerable number of semi and unskilled workers.
Forestry and Natural Resource Management