The rubber industry in Nigeria has been described as ‘white gold’ in dire need of investment, especially from the Federal Government.

This was disclosed by Otunba Igbinosun-Peter, National President, National Rubber Producers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NARPPMAN) during the association’s 2021 National Rubber Conference with the theme, “Industrialisation of the Rubber Sub-Sector in Nigeria.”

The group solicited more funds for the development of the rubber subsector.

What the Producers are saying

He said, “Rubber is a ‘white gold’ and investment in rubber is not a mistake and will not be a mistake. We are, therefore, appealing to the government to support investments in the rubber sub-sector in Nigeria.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should create a special development package for long gestation crops such as rubber. Bank of Agriculture, Bank of Industry and Nexim Bank should be fully involved in the development of the rubber sub-sector.

“This is by making funds available for rubber development at friendly interest rates for our small and industrial farmers. Government can take up the responsibility to measure out modalities to assist in rubber production technology, to further enhance the promotion and sustainability of rubber sub-sector.”

Igbinosun-Peter added that the government should create avenues for giving out agricultural subsidies to rubber farmers and should create Private-Public-Partnerships for the sector.

“Government can provide other assistance such as processing machines and free construction of smokehouses in clusters for effective storage facilities. Others are basic infrastructural facilities, agrochemicals and fertilisers, to boost rubber production.

“Regular training and workshops for rubber farmers, provide grants and encourage soft loans at single-digit interest rate for rubber farmers,” he added.

What you should know

In the early 1940s and 1960s, Nigeria was the biggest producer of rubber in Africa and the fifth in the world.
In the 2020 International Regulatory Strategy Group (IRSG) report, Nigeria was ranked as the third-highest producer of natural rubber in Africa, but producing at 6% of African total production as compared to Cote d’Ivoire whose production was 76 per cent of Africa’s total production.

Bottomline

If massive attention is given to small scale farmers of rubber in the country, the storyline will change so as to complement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals.

With the necessary support to boost farmers’ production of rubber, Nigeria could provide jobs for her teeming youths.

The association can provide 40,000 direct and 480,000 indirect employments from plantation establishments alone. This will open up rubber industrialisation in the states through the establishment of factories and cottage industries.