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Universidad EAFIT
Carrera 49 # 7 sur -50 Medellín Antioquia Colombia
Carrera 12 # 96-23, oficina 304 Bogotá Cundinamarca Colombia
(57)(4) 2619500
EAFITAgencia de Noticias EAFITAgencia de Noticias EAFITHistórico noticias 2014Agencia de Noticias / Octubre 2014Institutional - Outreach / EAFIT helps to revitalize the rubber sector in Bajo Cauca​​

Proyección / 16/10/2014

EAFIT helps to revitalize the rubber sector in Bajo Cauca​​

​The purpose of the certification program is to produce rubber with standard properties in order to improve the country’s productive chain and to benefit the communities of this sub region.​​

​• A group of rubber tappers attended classes at the Universidad EAFIT for a week to further their training process and to visit some of the trade businesses. 

• The project is led by EAFIT Social, the Continuing Education Center (CEC) and the Secretary of Productivity, which is attached to the Governor’s Office of Antioquia.

Aimed at becoming more competitive, leaders and members of the rubber growers associations from the Bajo Cauca region of Antioquia left their homeland for one week and travelled to Medellin to be part of the certification program offered by EAFIT. 

According to Sandra Milena Gonzalez Villa, leader of the Rubber Research Project of the General Royalty System, Colombia currently imports 90 percent of the total rubber consumption. For this reason, all the rubber produced throughout the country is sold domestically.

Since training is one of the basic needs of the rubber guild, EAFIT decided to design a plan to train the human talent involved in the first link of their production chain in order to help them face important issues such as quality, competitiveness and productivity.

"Our goal is to equip rubber growers with the tools that will allow them to have their own criteria to choose what is best according to the market dynamics by dealing with factors such as the price of rubber that is driven by the stock market, and the rainy spells that spoil the soil when just latex is produced” explains the researcher.

Jaime Alberto Escobar Arango, researcher at EAFIT, said that rubber was suggested as an alternative hypothesis to replace illegal crops.  According to him, "When the university accepted this challenge, we found the huge technological gap in the production chain that led Colombia to a competitive disadvantage."

He believes that quality needs to be achieved from the standardization of processes that require the use of a specific methodology, which is sought to be implemented through this formative process. 

Social Transformation

According to Sandra Gonzalez, this process began 23 years ago when the Office of the Governor of Antioquia started a project to eradicate illegal crops to replace them with rubber, an entirely legitimate business that could be profitable over time. 

"This means social transformation to us, and even though it is a project of the Continuing Education Center with  a research component, the goal is for the six municipalities involved to win the battle against illegal crops and improve the quality of life in the regions " as stated by Gonzalez.

EAFIT implemented a training plan two and a half years ago with members of the Rubber Growers´ Association (Asociación de Cultivos de Caucho or Asculticaucho) from Santa Clara; a village located an hour and a half from the municipality of Taraza in the department of Antioquia. 

"It was a very successful process that benefited 20 growers, including children of people who harvest rubber to facilitate the transfer of knowledge between generations, thus allowing them to become multiplier leaders of the process in the Bajo Cauca sub region," as she recalls. 

At the completion of this initiative, these peasants requested EAFIT to offer further training, as mentioned by Professor Gonzalez.

"Our target population has faced violence for a long time. Therefore, the university´s ability to transform their needs into opportunities is highly significant" as stated by Mario Vargas Saenz, director of EAFIT Social.      

This project benefits aspects such as the agronomic, personal, relationship issues, and the significance of partnerships as key links for the successful exploitation of rubber, as explained by Luis Santiago Paris Londono, researcher of the Department of Production Engineering at EAFIT.    


People who have enjoyed the benefits of the program

En​​eider Hoyos, President of Asproages in the municipality of Nechi:

"It was a very enriching opportunity which was necessary to seek different alternatives to rubber latex, our end product. The goal is to have a clearer and more precise idea about the uses of latex". 

Maria Beatriz Garcia Palomo, representative of Ascabia (the Rubber Growers´ Association of cargueros and bijagual villages in the municipality of Nechi):

"This training allows each organization to know which stage they are in and to replicate knowledge within the community, thus improving the processes and becoming more competitive".

Alfinger Tapias Mejia, spokesperson of Asproages in the municipality of Nechi:

"It has been a difficult process because we started to plant rubber blindly. Despite the fact that we had already been trained by several institutions, it is only until now and thanks to EAFIT and to the Office of the Governor of Antioquia, that we know the rubber end product. This opens up the possibility to start our own business in Bajo Cauca". 



General Information about the certification program

The program is comprised of three cohorts with 20 people per group and it lasts 106 hours: 64 hours of theoretical and practical instruction offered in Caucasia.  Participants attend the University for the remaining 42 hours of training, including 16 hours of lectures, 18 hours of practical work and 8 for industrial tours.  The methodological strategies include lectures, laboratory practice, field work, visits to business locations and training materials.

On the other hand, the course covers five modules: management, input-output analysis, process control, processes for rubber transformation, and process monitoring. ​

Journalists’ contact information

Marcela Olarte Melguizo
Journalist Information and Press Area
Telephone: 574 2619500 Ext. 9931 Mobile: 3113547204

Última modificación: 08/01/2015 12:23

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