In the Ivory Coast an International Institute is providing scientific and technical assistance to develop the country's rubber industry.
In the Ivory Coast an International Institute is providing scientific and technical assistance to develop the country's rubber industry. There, the hot wet climate is similar to that of the world's major rubber producing countries, and it is the aim of the Institute to increase the country's rubber yield.
SYNOPSIS: The 'Institute de Recherches sur le Caoutchouc' (IRCA) is an international organisation that works under the French Ministry of Cooperation. Its membership is made up of the world's chief rubber producers and they met in the Ivory Coast to study the field characteristics of the South American rubber tree -- the Hevea -- under West African ecological conditions.
As part of its research IRCA has set up environmental testing facilities. In propagation sheds, samples of the trees are scrutinised to test their resistance to wind damage, their regeneration and production capacity, and their response to fertiliser stimulation. It has also introduced a new way of collecting Latex -- a milky fluid the plant produces. The system involves collecting the latex in plastic bags instead of cups, allowing it to coagulate naturally and thus reducing the labour normally required to tap a tree. As well as providing technical facilities, the Institute has set up field management training schemes and a central advisory board.