Natural rubber comes essentially from the tapping of the “Hevea brasiliensis” tree, native to the Amazon basin in South America. This natural elastomer is produced in the laticifers of the bark of the tree and flows with each incision of a specialized worker.
PROCEDURES FROM HEVEA CULTURE TO FINISHED PRODUCT (TSR)
Paradoxically, rubber farming has developed mainly in South-East Asia and in Africa to a lesser extent. The major producing countries in Asia essentially practice a smallholder culture called “village” but agro-industrial plantations have also developed since the beginning of the 20th century. These plantation groups, with the help of research institutes, have selected more productive varieties that are less susceptible to disease.
Rootstocks are raised in nurseries for six months before being grafted. These small rubber trees are then transplanted into the field at a density of about 500 to 550 trees per hectare. After 6 years, they reach a physiological maturity and a vegetative stage allowing the beginning of the tapping (incision of the bark). The most common frequency is one bleeding every 4 days. The average production of a tree is 5 kg/year. Good bark management and a rigorous exploitation system allow the tree to be exploited for 25 years.
Rubber cultivation uses a lot of farm labor for maintenance and especially for tapping. Plot maintenance requires very few chemical inputs and a mature plot resembles a forest. The plantations are organized as large farms with villages of farm workers and social infrastructures (schools, infirmaries,).
The rubber can be harvested in a liquid state – latex – or after coagulation in the field (cup bottoms). It is then transported to the factory to undergo cleaning, homogenization and drying operations, and is then pressed into standard 35 kg bales. Strict compliance with quality standards throughout the production process ensures that the required specifications are met. The finished product is then labeled Technical Specified rubber (TSR). The rubber is shipped to customers, tire manufacturers or others, by container.
HOW DOES HEVEA ARRIVE IN COTE D’IVOIRE ?
In 1955, a mission left Cote d’Ivoire for Indochina to study the possibilities of introducing rubber tree cultivation in Cote d’Ivoire. This mission brought the seeds back to the country and the exploitation of the first rubber plantations started in 1961 followed by its promotion in 1968.
Since 2016, our company Prime Prestige exports it to its customers in Asia by containers with a capacity of more than 200,000 tons each year.