Ivory Coast: Rubber Tree Plantations
While cocoa is the number one crop, natural rubber comes in second, as Ivory Coast produces 80% of all rubber in Africa (globally, Malaysia produced about 90% of the world’s supply). Rubber plantation are mostly small patches of rubber tree forests in the central part of the country – humid and tropical. Rubber Tree aka Hevea brasiliensis originally comes from the Amazon basin (just like cocoa), but now is a common crop in the West Africa. On the plantation, trees are tapped near the bottom of the trunk and sticky white natural latex sap drips into small buckets. A tree needs to be 7-10 year old before production begins, and usually dies at around 30 years old, its growth and longevity stunted by constant latex drainage.