Rubber has not only stretched the comfort and convenience of our daily lives but has also propelled the tyres of the economy for the countries of its origin. It’s interesting to note from a wide perspective that the quality of rubber varies in terms of the percentage of ash content in it. By burning a sample of rubber in the muffle furnace and calculating the calibrated weight of the leftover ash, one can check the ash percentage.
History reveals that the Gold coast experienced a rubber boom when its value soared during World War – II. During that time, bonuses were offered for latex and rubber scraps and plantations. In Ghana although cocoa ranks above rubber in terms of volume output the Ghanaian government beholds a history of having strived to develop the country’s rubber industry as well. This is evident from the fact that although after independence in 1957 the rubber industry was perceived to be a lackluster one, Ghana launched the first outgrower scheme known as the Rubber Outgrowers’ Plantation Project (ROPP). The scheme offers several benefits for the farmers such as access to a guaranteed market, credit, high quality seedlings and training on input use and production techniques to enhance production levels. Thereafter farmers’ yields rose significantly. This objectivated the vision of the government to augment the supply of raw material to Ghana Rubber Estate Limited, the leading rubber producer of Ghana and thus the value of cumulative merchandise exports from Ghana went up to the tune of a whopping $16.7 billion in 2019. The country’s rubber is mainly used for export to France, Turkey, South Korea and East Africa.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic eclipsed the growth of Ghana’s rubber industry in 2020, the unfavourable situation is only expected in the short term because the expansion plans of the operators in the country are based on long term goals. What’s more, there is encouraging news for Ghana’s tyre industry. Even prior to trading in January 2021, under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), numerous investors including those from the automobile sector have shown keen interest in the Ghanaian markets. These include automobile behemoths like Toyota, Sinotruck, Nissan and Volkswagen; with the latter opening an assembly plant in Ghana in 2020. This indicates greater scope for Ghana’s tyre industry and for its rubber industry thereby.
Thus, going by the magnitude of optimism, the growth of the rubber industry in Ghana is poised to be stretched.