Sunday, October 3, 2010

Rubber (7)

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Rubber is a popular crop in Cote d'Ivoire. As you travel by car, you often see rubber plantations. Many cocoa farmers have dropped cocoa because of the excessive taxation of the Ivorian government and have planted rubber. It pays a lot less per Kg, and the yield per tree is comparatively small, but the latex flows every day, providing a steady income. Cocoa, on the other hand, suffers from more diseases, yields twice a year, and the farmer is poorly treated by the market.

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Rubber trees. Road to San Pedro, Cote d'Ivoire. 2006

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Rubber is made from latex, obtained by scoring the bark in such a way to allow effective collection. Road to San Pedro, Cote d'Ivoire. 2006

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Latex is removed from the cups every day and piled up in one location. Then the latex gatherer places the balls on a platform cantilevered out over the ditch along the road, and the rubber company picks up the balls, weighs them, and pays the farmer. Needless to say, this system wouldn't work if farmers and passersby were dishonest. Such a system would not work in much of the West, where dishonesty is assumed. Galebre, Côte d'Ivoire. 2007. Photo by Stan Thompson

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Rubber plantation on the way to Galebre, Côte d'Ivoire, 2007.

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Nuts from the rubber trees. Near Galebre, Côte d'Ivoire, 2007. Photo by Stan Thompson.

6) P8210018.jpg
Latex drips into cast-iron cups. South of Issia, Cote d'Ivoire, 2007. Photo by Stan Thompson.

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Rubber plantation south of Issia, Cote d'Ivoire, 2007. Photo by Stan Thompson.

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