The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and other stakeholders have called for the revitalisation of the rubber sector in Nigeria to boost wealth creation, raw materials for production and exports.
The permanent secretary of the ministry, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe emphasised the government’s commitment to diversifying the economy from oil dependency to agriculture, with a focus on arable and cash crops for economic growth and development. The ministry has been promoting the development of the rubber value chain by distributing improved rubber stumps, providing growth enhancers to farmers, facilitating training on nursery development and tapping techniques, and managing the white rot rubber diseases under rehabilitation and replanting of existing rubber farms.
The ministry has collaborated with Lohashilpi Sheeting Processing Technology to establish a rubber resource centre in Edo State and the executive secretary of the International Rubber Study Group (IRSG), Prof. Joseph Adelegan has urged the organisation to revive the rubber sub-sector and stimulate investment in the sector. However, the sector faces challenges such as low productivity due to old age, poor agronomic practices and continued use of low-yielding seedlings.
The director of the tree crops division, Federal Department of Agriculture, Mr. Bernard Ukattah appealed to stakeholders to ensure the implementation of the programme which aims to improve the rubber sub-sector and economic growth.
He assured of the ministry’s readiness to support the initiative by creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive. With proper investment and support, the revitalisation of the rubber sector can contribute significantly to Nigeria’s economic growth and development.