By Diogo Esperante

The Association of Producers of Natural Rubber of São Paulo (APABOR) seeks to resort to better productive practices, thus improving production efficiency, quality and competitiveness of their national product.

The Brazilian Natural Rubber Productive Chain has evolved a lot over the last 30 years. The country has planted about 250,000 hectares (of which just over 150,000 are in production).

Good productivity levels

Despite the average Brazilian productivity, according to the National Institute of Statistics (IBGE) data, the regions where the crop advances the most have good productivity levels. It is revealed that there is still a lot of potential for improvement.

The ‘Technical Notes’ project of the Association of Producers of Natural Rubber Producers of São Paulo (APABOR) seeks precisely to collaborate in the definition of parameters that, in turn, enable the producer to create indicators to measure and improve their productive practices, thus improving their yields.
But it is not only in the productive efficiency that the Brazilian natural rubber plantation industry seeks in its evolution. Quality has been increasingly debated as an important field to work with, in order to give a better competitiveness to the national product.

Improved quality

During her lecture during APABOR’s Series of Lectures, in November 2018, Pirelli’s R&D Engineer Yvette Richards gave a piece of good news: Brazilian natural rubber has improved its quality!

This announcement had a special importance for us, as it was the 1-year celebration of the ‘Legal Rubber Program’. (In Portuguese, the word ‘Legal’ also means ‘good’).Its first project was the dissemination of Good Practices for the production of natural rubber.

This project was created from an interaction among the Council of Producers, the Technical Committee and the Council of Processing Plants of the Association. The members of the Association today account for more than 20,000 hectares of rubber plantations and 80% of all rubber processed in the country.

Reduction of contaminants levels

The main purpose of the project, which was the symbol of the launch of a Comic Book Project, was to reduce the contaminants index in the raw material of our Plantations with simple tips on matters such as: separation of the lace, avoiding the contact of the boxes with the land and maintaining cleanliness and good organization of the work environment. Simple activities, but these make all the difference in guaranteeing a quality end-product.
Ms. Yvette, showed that during the project activity period, in the monitoring done by Pirelli in Brazil, the contaminant indices denoted a significant improvement in the quality of the national product.

Collective action has greater impact

The success of this initiative has shown that, when we align the entire chain to act together, we generate a greater impact.

It was a demand of the Consumer Industry that led to the processing plants to organize and, together with the producers and agronomists, to elaborate the strategies to obtain that improvement.

With the success of the Comic Book Project, the Association continued the program, which has already launched new projects dedicated to the dissemination of good practices. A Compliance Agreement between the Processing plants (for the dissemination of Good Commercial Practices) and the creation of a Productive Protocol based on the Technical Notes (combined with the training of producers for the elaboration of Management Plans) are the next steps for the year 2019.

This work is essential to not only improve the competitiveness of our Industry but also to enhance the market share of our product by creating more and more attractiveness of the rubber consuming companies and ultimately generating more competitiveness and negotiation capacity of the productive sector. Brazilian Natural Rubber Industry continues to evolve.