C’River State Gov’t and NARPPMAN Join Forces for Rubber Development

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The Cross River State Commissioner for Agriculture and Irrigation Development, Hon. Johnson A. Ebokpo, has pledged the ministry’s full support and collaboration with the State Chapter of the National Rubber Producers, Processors, and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NARPPMAN) to drive the development of rubber and its value chains in the State NEGROIDHAVEN can report.

In a meeting with the leadership of NARPPMAN, Commissioner Ebokpo emphasized that rubber, as a key mandate crop, has been integrated into the ministry’s plan to boost the state’s GDP through agriculture. This integration aligns with Governor Bassey Otu’s commitment to reducing waste and promoting productivity in the agricultural sector, making it crucial for all stakeholders to embrace the agricultural revolution and contribute to building a more productive economy.

Regarding the policy approach to this revolution, the Agriculture and Irrigation Development Commissioner stated that the ministry is undergoing reorganization to align with the State’s new governance architecture. This reorganization will streamline departmental schedules and provide oversight functions for the various value chains integrated by the ministry. He urged NARPPMAN to engage in a robust technical collaboration to develop a comprehensive policy document on rubber and its entire value chains.

Addressing the issue of encroachment on rubber plantations across the State, Commissioner Ebokpo acknowledged it as a significant challenge driven by the growing human population. He revealed that the ministry is establishing a committee to reevaluate the status of land banks in the State. He congratulated the new leadership of NARPPMAN and encouraged them to increase the visibility of their activities for better awareness. He also assured that the association’s other concerns would be duly addressed.

Mr. Umo Inameti, the State Chairman of NARPPMAN, introduced the group as a commodity association nurtured and formed by the federal Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment. Their mission is to oversee the development of the rubber value chain in Nigeria. Inameti highlighted one of their primary challenges: the absence of a viable rubber processing factory in Cross River, which has adversely affected over 400 registered farmers and key stakeholders in the rubber value chain.

Inameti stressed the necessity for an approved policy document to drive rubber and its value chains in Cross River State. He also urged the government to allocate 100,000 hectares of land for future development of the natural rubber industry in the State. Furthermore, he sought the ministry’s collaboration in hosting a three-day National rubber conference on the development and industrialization of the rubber sub-sector in Nigeria, scheduled for 2024. Additionally, he requested budgetary provisions for the rubber value chain in the 2024 budget.

The Managing Director of PAMOL Nig. Ltd., Mr. Fidelis Obi, and the Association’s Vice President, South-South, Mr. Usen Umo, expressed their gratitude to the Commissioner for the audience and discussed the challenges facing rubber development in the State. They shared their concerns about the current state of PAMOL, which, once economically viable with over 3000 workers, now has only 300 employees on the plantation, with 70 percent of them on contract terms. They highlighted the loss of a significant expanse of rubber plantations to encroachment and conversion for other agricultural activities.

Both Obi and Umo expressed hope that Governor Bassey Otu’s administration, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation Development, would prioritize rubber development and transform it from its current declining state into a highly productive value chain.