• Sunday, June 16, 2024
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Farmers urge FG to establish intervention fund for natural rubber

Farmers urge FG to establish intervention fund for natural rubber

Farmers and natural rubber processors have called on the Federal Government to establish an intervention fund for the development of rubber plantations, processing and manufacturing across the country.

They made the call in Calabar at the end of their meeting to chart the way forward for the natural resource, which they described as irreplaceable and goldmine that can complement crude oil.

National president of National Rubber Producers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NARPPMAN), Peter Igbinosun, and the general manager of Royal International Farms and Estates Limited,

Usen Umoh spoke to journalists in Calabar, the capital of Cross River State.

Igbinosun said the intervention fund should attract an interest rate of three to five percent annum with a moratorium period of three to four years considering the gestation period of the rubber trees which is six years with good agronomic practices.

The president recommended that the repayment period should spread over 10 to 15 years.

He called for the selection of a development bank to handle the processing and disbursement of the intervention fund.

As a way of easing the challenges faced by natural rubber farmers and processors, he advocated the establishment of an agency for bulk purchase of machinery/equipment agency, saying it will facilitate the acquisition of tractors, implements, land development machineries and equipment.

He added that the rural development policies of the federal, state and local governments should be integrated into farm plantations in order to create the necessary infrastructures such as roads, bridges, electricity and water.

Igbinosun enumerated that the county will benefit greatly if the rubber subsector which has been long neglected, is well positioned although it is a capital and labour-intensive industry.

“Rubber is grown in 24 states of Nigeria, including Kaduna, Taraba, Kwara, Adamawa, etc as well as

South-west and Southsouth states. This has the capacity to create wealth, enhance non-oil sector foreign exchange earnings and can also greatly reduce crime and youth militancy.

“There are array of other benefits from natural rubber. Rubber trees generate carbon pits and fit with the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto protocol. A 30-year-old rubber plantation mobilises 200 tons of C/HA.

“Rubber is in high demand all over the world, plays a major role as a foreign exchange earner and contributor to the growth of our national economy,” he said, adding that natural rubber is a strategic material as it cannot be replaced in many important applications.