Rubber farming is the process of cultivating a rubber plantation from the planting of the rubber trees to nurturing of the trees, and finally harvesting the rubber latex.
Nigeria’s annual rubber industry capacity has fallen from well above 130,000 metric tonnes per annum to about 55,000 metric tonnes, largely based on the failure to repair or change old worn out plants and establish new ones.
This shows that there are opportunities for those who venture into rubber plantation business.
The chairman, National Rubber Producers, Processors and Marketers Association Of Nigeria (NARPPMAN), Prince Alexander Gbenga Ogundele, told me that rubber is one of the highest foreign exchange earners among export commodities in Nigeria, adding that about 95 per cent of raw rubber materials are exported, even as the country can earn over $520 million annually from export of rubber.
Opportunities In Rubber Farming
Rubber remains a substance that has inexhaustible uses, therefore, leading to several business opportunities for entrepreneurs to exploit. Rubber is used for : shoe making, car manufacturing, plumbing services, production of electricity wires among others.
Ogundele mentioned the outgrowers’ scheme introduced by the federal government to encourage smallholder farmers to own small plantations and plant rubber trees, in hopes that yield would rebound once again. When the yield is high, it will encourage tappers and tapping of rubber.
Despite the decline of activities in the sector over the years, he stressed that rubber has the potential to create thousands of jobs along its value chain and also spur industrialisation. “From farmers that work on rubber estates/plantations to processors, companies producing tyres, and others providing ancillary services; all of these can prosper the nation,” he pointed out.
Tips In Rubber Plantation
It takes six years before rubber trees can produce sap, after which it can then produce for about 28 years. A typical tree can produce 19 pounds of rubber each year.
Poor funding of research activities, pest and diseases, bush burning are major challenges. It is also a seasonal business, as such, production cannot happen year round.
Lack of highly efficient storage facilities for the unprocessed nuts and lack of capital for large scale production are equally challenges.
Rubber remains one of the most demanded products in the world, as there is almost no industry that can function without rubber as confirmed by Ogundele. Rubber farming is one of the most neglected agricultural businesses in Nigeria, giving a large opportunity to investors interested in starting rubber farming in Nigeria.
You can earn anywhere from 20 per cent to sometimes over 100 per cent profit margins, trading rubber locally and internationally. Rubber farming in Nigeria can be a great source of employment he stressed.
Nigeria Can Earn $520m Annually From Rubber Export – Ogundele(Opens in a new browser tab)