The Rubber Estates Nigeria Limited (RENL) has disclosed plans to strengthen partnership with the Edo State Government to establish a rubber processing factory, expand its out-grower scheme and facilitate reactivation of dormant rubber plantations for Edo indigenes living in the diasporas.
RENL, a subsidiary of Socfin, a leading global agribusiness company, manages a 10,000-hectare rubber plantation in Urhonigbe, Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo State.
Speaking on the development, Managing Director of RENL, Olivier Odoukou, said, “We are excited to partner with the Edo State Government to develop the rubber industry in the state. We believe that Edo State has the potential to become a major producer of rubber, and we are committed to helping the state achieve that goal.”
On his part, the Managing Director, Edo State Investment Promotion Office (ESIPO), Kelvin Uwaibi said, “This partnership is a major step forward for Edo State’s rubber industry. Rubber is a valuable commodity with a growing global demand, and Edo State has the potential to become a major producer. This partnership will help us to realize that potential.”
According to FAOSTAT, Nigeria was the world’s twelfth-largest and Africa’s second-largest producer of rubber in 2018, and currently produces an estimated 160,000 metric tons annually. Global and local market demand for natural rubber is high due to its wide range of applications in various sectors of the economy.
At an average of 60,000 tons per year, Nigeria’s export of natural rubber trails far behind the annual global demand of 12 million tons.
Edo is Nigeria’s highest producer of rubber, leading seventeen other rubber-producing States. The tree crop is grown in several local government areas across the State, including Uhunmwode, Orhionmwon, Ovia South West, Owan West, Ikpoba Okha, Esan Central and Esan South East.
Rubber Estates’ foray into Edo could also be boosted by the presence of the Rubber Research Institute of Nigeria located at Iyanomo, Ikpoba Okha LGA.
The institute’s presence in the State gives farmers direct contact to extension workers and agents who have enhanced their awareness of new agricultural technologies in rubber cultivation.
With the out-grower programme and the institute, rubber farmers in Edo will have robust support required to increase production to meet demand.