By A Saj Mathews:

The geographic location of Colombia makes it a major natural rubber supplier for the United States, Latin American and the European Union markets. This article is an overview of the Colombian rubber industry which is striving to make a mark in the global rubber industry.

Colombia is a country largely situated in the Northwest of South America, with territories in Central America. Colombia shares a border to the Northwest with Panama, to the east with Venezuela and Brazil and to the south with Ecuador and Peru. It shares its maritime limits with Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
Colombia is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse countries in the world, with its rich cultural heritage reflecting various European, Middle Eastern, African, and indigenous influences. Its urban centres are mostly located in the highlands of the Andes mountains and the Caribbean coast.
The country has about 52.600 ha of planted areas rubber areas, distributed over five regions namely, Magdalena centro, Magdalena Medio, Cordón cauchero-cacaotero, Amazonía and Orinoquia. In the year 2014, the country’s consumption was about 17,000 tonnes and production 4,000 tonnes. Therefore, 75% of consumption was imported, mainly from Guatemala and Southeast Asia It is expected that, from 2018, the country will emerge as a net exporter by intensifying exports to the US, China, Brazil, Canada and Venezuela.
The main processing plants in the region are those of Block Rubber producers, MAVALLE being the biggest. This enterprise has about 10,000 ha of its own and another 10,000 ha of potential neighbours for sourcing. The country is an exporter and is currently expanding its reach, especially in the Brazilian market.

Employment generation

According to Ticxar, a Bagota, Columbia-based market research and software solutions firm, the cultivation of rubber in Colombia generates a permanent job for every five hectares while in the
case of cocoa for every 2 hectares one job is generated. Agricultural promotion, mainly in respect crops like rubber and cocoa, is claimed to reduce social tensions, gross product growth in involved municipalities, increase human capital, create greater opportunities for people in terms of socialization, coexistence and security and lead to an increase in personal and community income.
The other cascading beneficial effects of agricultural promotion in the region cited include an increase in savings, payment, spending and investment capacity of local citizens, integration of organized small producers, better economic-ecological response of the soils, higher income-biomass production, protecting and restoring of natural forest and restoration of the original biodiversity and deforestation of watersheds.
It is a fact that the geographic location of Colombia makes it a major supplier of NR with advantages for the markets of the United States, Latin American countries and European Union. The projected prices of NR until 2017 showed a stable but low scenario. The Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) are an opportunity to compete with the Asian producers as long as the quality of the product, the scale and costs of production including those for export allow. In respect of environmental issues Colombia has an edge over the Asian NR producers in terms of meticulous adherence to international norms in this regard.
Rainforest in Leticia, Colombia. Credit: Elisabeth Brinch Sand/KLD
All forest incentives must be taken advantage of at national and international levels.
At the climate summit in Paris on November 30, 2015, Colombia, Germany, Norway and the UK announced a groundbreaking partnership to protect Colombia’s rainforest.
Colombia will implement an ambitious package of cross-sectoral actions and strengthen self-governance of ethnic territories to reduce deforestation and promote sustainable development. To support that commitment, Germany, Norway and the United Kingdom will contribute close to USD 300 million, primarily through result-based payments for reducing deforestation.

Arresting natural forest loss

The partnership will provide significant support to help Colombia achieve its ambitious goal of zero net deforestation in the Amazon by 2020 and halt loss of all natural forest by 2030. This is the first time that three donor countries join forces in partnership with a large tropical forest country to provide funding, based on verified emission reductions from reduced deforestation.
Inputs coursey: Sergio Andrés Contreras, Sales Manager, Ticxar. For details contact: M:(+57) 300 5491781, P: (+57) 1 703 17 77, E: [email protected], S: