Nigeria is blessed with large expanse of conducive agricultural environment in terms of congenial weather, good topography and fertile soil. Before the advent of oil, the exploitation of these advantages was partly responsible for the massive contributions of the agricultural sub-sector of the economy to the GNP, GDP, foreign exchange earnings, the provision of food and industrial raw materials, the massive development of the other sectors. etc. But these have long ago become history. Interest in and the financing of agricultural development has since been on the reverse gear.
This is awaiting commercial exploitation for the purposes of producing various types of food and industrial raw materials, with the abundant availability of cheap skilled and unskilled labour that is necessary for the resounding success of the venture.
There are a lot of profitable opportunities for anyone that ventures into integrated agricultural development, processing and exporting. One of such areas is the establishment of a rubber plantation. From this, the mature trees will be tapped to obtain (TSR) of grades TSR 10 and TSR 20. These grades command very high demand and prices among the tyre and other rubber-based products manufacturers in Nigeria as well as in the international market. In fact, the two rubber grades will most profitably be exported at this time to earn scarce foreign exchange.
Project location: This is very important as it is needful to site the project where the raw materials can easily be obtained on a regular and sustainable basis. This will also bring down the cost of transportation of the same to the barest minimum thereby helping to minimise the total cost of production which in turn will improve the profit figure at the end of the year.
My research findings reveal that the most conducive location is the zone covering Anambra, Imo, Abia, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Edo, Ekiti, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Lagos, Ogun, etc.
Pslantation development: In the states mentioned above, not only is the general environment conducive but also there is ample land that can be acquired to establish plantations that will yield the raw materials that will sustain the factories for a long time.
The acquired land is developed into a plantation by buying, transplanting and planting the rubber cyclones. Over 3-7 years, these are nurtured to maturity, depending on the breed of the cyclones. For further information, see my article on Developing a Commercial Rubber Plantation. The average rubber clones at peak seasons should be able to yield raw materials to sustain the proposed factory with the processing line capacity of 2,000kg dry rubber/hr or 1,000 metric tons per month operating on two eight-hour shifts per day.
Building: The overall dimension of 120m X 30m will be sufficient to house the factory and the administrative blocks. The details of the construction types and materials – roofing, walls, floors, etc., will be contained in a comprehensive feasibility report, which the promoter needs to establish and run the project successfully.
Plant, machinery and equipment components: Briefly, the main plant and machinery and equipment are: slab cutter, pre-breaker, rotary cutter, creper, shredder, trolley dryer and automatic hydraulic press. Other ancillary equipment required are: bucket conveyor, vibrating dirt removal screen, different belt conveyors for shredder and slab cutter, blending pump, transfer pump, vibrating screen, electronic weighing scale, wash pump, packing system, electrical control switchboard, spare parts for one year and one lot of a modern rubber quality laboratory for testing TSR 10 and TSR 20.These will be imported in one lot.
Technical back-up: The equipment suppliers are willing to technically assist any prospective promoters to make the project a success by providing a full set of design drawings and supervision of installation, test-running, commissioning of the plant and the training of the promoter’s staff.