The majority of natural rubber production worldwide is conducted by smallholder rubber farmers in Southeast Asia. The Bridgestone Group uses large volumes of natural rubber, but unfortunately, the productivity of these farmers is often low and the natural rubber they produce vary in quantity and quality. To help smallholder farmers improve the quantity and quality of their operations, the Group provides high-quality Hevea rubber tree seedlings and conduct technical training in key producing countries using the same productivity-improvement techniques the Group developed for its own rubber farms at the agricultural training center established in the city of Siantar in North Sumatra. It also implemented a technical training program for select instructor candidates.
Such initiatives are expected to improve the quality of natural rubber, increase income per unit area for the farmers and help control expansion of agricultural lands.