Otunba Igbinosun-Peter, National President, National Rubber Producers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NARPPMAN) has solicited more funds for the development of the rubber subsector.
Igbinosun-Peter described rubber as “white gold,” saying “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,” he said.
He spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria ( NAN) in Abuja on Thursday on the sidelines of the association’s 2021 National Rubber Conference with the theme “Industrialisation of the Rubber Sub-Sector in Nigeria.”
Igbinosun-Peter urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to 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,” he said.
Igbinosun-Peter further urged the government to 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 appealed.
Igbinosun-Peter recalled that 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 the third highest producer of natural rubber in Africa.
“But producing at six per cent of African total production as compared to Cote d’Ivoire whose production was 76 per cent of Africa’s total production.
“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,” he said.
The NARPPMAN president insisted that if poverty would be alleviated, rubber production must be used, “for it is a massive employer of labour.”
He noted that with the necessary support to boosting farmers’ production of rubber, Nigeria could provide jobs for her teeming youths.
According to Igbinosun-Peter, “our association can provide 480,000 direct and 40,000 indirect employments from plantation establishments alone.
“It will open up rubber industrialisation in the states through the establishment of factories and cottage industries.
“This will further open up opportunities for more employment and economic empowerment, considering the usefulness of rubber across the globe.”
“We need to retrace our steps back to the period of cocoa and groundnut pyramid.
“Now is the time to plant, produce, process and market rubber for the country’s economic growth and jobs creation,” he said.
According to the NARPPMAN president, rubber industry produces a wide range of products, from automobile, medical and safety products.
Others, he noted, were sports, entertainment, industrial domestic, furniture, military and livestock products, among numerous others.