Nigeria has generated over $20.9million from the export of rubber in 2020.
This was announced on Thursday during the maiden edition of the 2021 National Rubber Conference in Abuja by Prince Igbinoson Peter, National President of the National Rubber Producers, Processors, and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NARPPMAN).
According to Peter, Nigeria is currently rated 23rd in the world among rubber producing countries, according to the CIA Reports 2021 and Global Rubber Markets 2021, as of 2020.
Thailand, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Malaysia, and Vietnam, on the other hand, account for 81.5 percent of the global value of natural rubber delivered in 2020, according to him.
He bemoaned the fact that Nigeria has not assumed its rightful place as the world’s leading producer and exporter of rubber.
He claims that 95 percent of the country’s potential rubber plantations are over 40 years old and have been abandoned because their trees have been chopped and utilized as fuel or furniture.
He said: “Rubber as an internationally traded agricultural commodity that is in high demand all over the world, played a major role as a foreign exchange earner and contributor to the growth of national economy.
“If given proper attention, rubber alone can transform the economy of Nigeria and employ millions of people as it is proven to have some of the largest value chain.
“With over 50 by-products, in over 400,000 applications, rubber is rated among the most profitable agro-industrial ventures.
“It is infact considered the world’s fourth most important natural resource after air, water and petroleum.”
Peter, however noted that in the 1960’s that Nigeria was the highest producer of rubber in Africa and 5th in the world, adding that Nigeria is the third highest producer of natural rubber in Africa but producing at 6% of African total production as compared to Ivory Coast whose production is at 76% of Africa total production.
He pointed out that if priority attention is given to the production of rubber, it would go a long way in assisting in the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals targeted to eradicate poverty, hunger, and improve decent work, economic growth, industry, innovation and infrastructure.
The National President of NARPPMAN, said the Association could provide 480,000 direct and 40,000 indirect jobs for the teeming youths from plantation establisment alone.
Therefore, he called on government to assist the Association in rubber production technology to further enhance the promotion and sustainability of rubber sub-sector as well as provide agricultural subsidies to rubber farmers.
As part of his requests, Peter appealed to the government to provide other assistance such as processing machines, free construction of smokehouses in clusters for effective storage facilities, basic infrastructural facilities, agro-chemicals and fertilizers to boost rubber production.
He further solicited regular training for rubber farmers, provision of grants and soft loans at single digit interest rate as well as the involvement of the Bank of Agriculture, Bank of Industry and Nexim Bank in the development of the rubber sub-sector through provision of funds for small and industrial rubber farmers.
In his remarks, Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe, urged the Association to embark on the replanting of existing rubber plantations.
Umakhihe represented by Mohammed Tukur, said it has become necessary for Nigeria to occupy her pride of place in the rubber sub-sector.