Côte d’Ivoire is the largest exporter of natural rubber in Africa and our team at Société Agro Industrielle de la Comoe sources naturally coagulated, or cup lump, rubber from about 2,000 smallholder farmers and members of cooperatives. Our processing facility then manufactures 2 grades of top quality Technically Specified Rubber for international customers.
Under our third-party trading we import and export natural rubber in blocks, sheets and latex form, providing a valuable service in connecting the small processors to manufacturers around the world. We have sourcing offices in Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and West Africa, and a direct sales presence in China, India, Europe and Singapore. All of our third-party suppliers have signed the Olam Supplier Code which commits them to upholding social and environmental principles, including human rights and ensuring that forest and other surrounding biodiversity is respected.
At our JV plantation in Gabon, we have planted 11,000 hectares (ha). As part of our commitment to sustainable development, and in line with Olam’s Plantations, Concessions and Farms Code, we are protecting a further 25,000 ha of High Conservation Value forest, buffer zones, wetlands, and village use areas.
We are also supporting the development of an industry standard along with the Sustainable Natural Rubber Initiative.
In the local language, GOUASSOU means bonus. For the SAIC team it’s a recognition programme for awarding the farmers and cooperatives.
The team at SAIC knows that there are 2 pinchpoints in the year when rubber farmers are challenged in terms of cash flow. Firstly in April, when they need fresh tools to start tapping for the latex. Secondly, in September when the new school term starts and the farmers need to pay for fees and books to send their children to school. So the basic premise for Gouassou is to help meet the needs of the farmer at these critical timelines with relevant materials such as tapping tools and boots in April and school kits in September. Awards this year in April included 2 motorbikes, 3 tricycles, tapping tools and safety boots.
“Our team of rubber experts, sustainability professionals and manufacturing technicians, are committed to growing our business responsibly, ensuring that our profitable growth is ethical, puts environmental stewardship firmly into our decision-making process, and unlocks mutual value for communities.”