Local natural rubber planters have been marked beneficiaries of a new natural rubber nursery technology that Firestone-Liberia is employing, namely the “Root Trainer” technology recently adapted to boost the company’s natural rubber tree seedlings production.
But the company’s management promised to share the nursery technology with local rubber farmers, after a successful experience that the company had anticipated from said technology.
The “Root Trainers,” which are hard, conical black plastic containers with drainage holes at the bottom of each structure, helps in the development of natural rubber root, especially the tap root, and hairs.
“In this technology, when seedlings are transplanted to the field, they will already have a stronger root base to adapt to a new environment,” said Patrick A. Rodrigo, Director of Special Projects at Firestone Liberia.
According to Mr. Rodrigo, the technology allows rubber seedlings to develop roots at a faster rate as each of the seedlings reaches transplanting age sooner than the conventional nursery poly bags.
He said rubber seedlings that are grown in root trainers reach transplanting age in 6-7 months, rather than the conventional poly bags nursery technology that takes 8-10 months before they are transplanted to the field.
Rodrigo made the disclosure when a team of Daily Observer reporters, led by veteran journalist and publisher Kenneth Y. Best, visited Firestone last week.
As a replacement of poly bags on the plantation, Rodrigo said the production cost of using the root trainer technology is significantly more affordable. Other research reports say that root trainer plants take only half the space that a poly bag nursery takes before being transplanted.
Also, root trainers and stands are reusable; hence, the environmental hazard associated with the accumulation of polythene bags in the ﬁeld can be avoided. It is also cost effective, ensuring even growth of the plant in the ﬁeld.