Natural rubber is the most essential raw material for rubber products and tyre manufacturers in the world because it has no alternative material. It is one of the green oil businesses in Agriculture that is not fully tapped into by entrepreneurs except for few foreign investors yet it has been existing for a long time.
Natural rubber is harvested as latex from matured rubber tree (Hevea brasillensis). Latex is the white liquid substance collected from rubber tree after tapping while the field coagula are the spilled fresh latex tree, earth or cup left to coagulate. Latex can be harvested every week for about 25 years. The tree scrap, earth scrap, tree lace and cup lump together make the field coagula, which constitutes around 20% of the harvest. The remaining 80% is fresh latex.
A matured rubber tree from 6th year can produce 1500kg/ha/yr of fresh latex. The rubber is collected from the latex in a series of steps involving preservation, concentration, coagulation, dewatering, drying, cleaning, and blending. Because of its natural derivation, it is sold in a variety of grades based on purity (color and presence of extraneous matter), viscosity, viscosity stability, oxidation resistance, and rate of cure.
It is no doubt a highly demanded, lucrative agribusiness in the international market that allows enterprise combination and has expanded value chain. Areas an entrepreneur/investor can look into include; Rubber nursery (Budded rubber stump/seedlings production), Rubber plantation (Latex/field Coagulum production) and Rubber processing (Concentrated latex, Technically Specified Rubber (TSR), Ribbed Smoked Sheet (RSS), Air Dried Sheet (ADS), Estate Brown Crepe (EBC) and other low grade crepes made from field coagulum).
Over the years, the importance of rubber to modern life has constantly increased due to the fact that it has high deformability, flexibility, return to its original shape when stressed, high tensile strength and durability. It has been employed in tyre industries, pharmaceuticals/medical material or equipment and consumer goods such as Chewing gum, Condoms, Balloons, connective hoses, Footwears, Gloves, Foam mattresses, elastic thread, adhesives, rubber band, etc.
According to QY Research report (2015), Global natural rubber consumption has grown at 4.1% per annum between 2010 and 2015, driven primarily by China and India. As the global economy rebounded from the recession-linked lows of 2009, the global consumption of natural rubber has risen by 11% in 2010.
Having rubber plantation is the best way to start and tap from this goldmine. Rubber plantation has been established in rubber growing countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Vietnam, China, Sri Lanka, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Ghana, Gabon, Cameroun, Guinea, Liberia, etc. Successful and profitable rubber plantation establishment depends on; planting material/varietyused; spacing and orientation; intercropping; yield stimulation, tapping system and preservation method.
In Nigeria, rubber can grow in Edo, Delta, Ondo, Ogun, Abia, Anambra, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Rivers, Ebonyi, and Bayelsa States. CBN (2013) reported that, rubber production growth increased from 5.9% in 2012 to 7.9% in 2013. Further analysis revealed that in the agricultural produce category, rubber constituted 4.7% of the total non-oil export. Average price of rubber (100% dry lump top quality) rose from N142,810.2/ton in 2009 to N148,839.3/ton in 2012.
Since the beginning of 2015, the price of rubber has been around 1.4 $/kg. Imagine what you can make from 10 hectares of land or more.
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