Dr Ernest Umakhihe, Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, says the ministry is taking steps to resuscitate rubber production in Nigeria.
Umakhihe said that it was to increase national wealth creation and boost raw materials for production for local industries and exportation.
This is contained in a statement issued by Mrs Mrsbel Obe, a Principal Information Officer of the ministry on Wednesday in Abuja.
The permanent secretary said this during a meeting with a delegation from International Rubber Study Group (IRSG), in Abuja.
Umakhihe said that the federal government was committed towards diversifying the economy of the nation from oil dependency to agriculture, with focus on arable and cash crops for economic growth and development.
He said that the ministry over the years had been prioritising and promoting the development of Rubber Value Chain with the distribution of improved budded rubber stumps plating materials.
” Also, growth enhancers to farmers to raise plantations and the facilitation of training on nursery development as well as Tapping Techniques,” he said.
Umakhihe said that part of the Initiative was Identification and Management of White Rot Rubber Diseases under Rehabilitation and Management and Replanting of existing rubbers farms across rubber producing States in the country.
He said that the Ministry was in collaboration with Lohashilpi Sheeting Processing Technology, had established Rubber Resource Centre (RRRC), in Ovia South West Local Government Area, Edo State.
Umakhihe urged the organisation to ensure the full implementation of the plan as stakeholders.
The permanent secretary pledged the ministry’s readiness to support the initiative by creating an enabling environment for business to thrive.
In his remark, the Head of the delegation, Executive Secretary, (IRSG), Prof. Joseph Adelegan, stated that the mandate of the group was to revive the Rubber Sub-Sector which was on the decline and stimulate investment in the sector.
He mentioned some challenges which to included low productivity of the existing plantation due to old age, poor Agronomic practices and continued use of low yielding seedlings among others.
The Director of Tree Crops Division in the ministry, Mr Bernard Ukattah, appealed to IRSG and other relevant stakeholders to ensure the implementation of the programme which was geared towards improving the Rubber sub sector and economic growth.