Project completed in 1995
The project aims to increase the market access for natural rubber by developing new blends of natural rubber (NR) with special purpose synthetic rubbers (SR). The project successfully developed four commercially relevant types of natural rubber blended with Nitrile Butadiene Rubber (NBR), Ethylene/Propylene Rubber (EPR)/Ethylene/Propylene/Diene (EPDM) and Epoxidized Natural Rubber (ENR). These blending applications were useful for the automobile industry, the cable industry, the dairy industry and for producers of household appliances. The production cost and the mass of material required showed a distinct advantage for the blended NR/SR combinations. As a result, the project provided an opportunity for NR to capture markets traditionally reserved for SR. In 1998 CFC published on the project results.
In 2000 an impact evaluation exercise of the rubber blending project disclosed that “total new knowledge and technologies were generated by this project” . Based on the positive result of the project, several European, Indian, Malaysian and Sri Lankan companies commercialised these applications. This project serves as a model for collaboration between CFC and Private Partners. The project further demonstrated that it is possible to match the interests of the smallholder rubber producers with the commercial ambitions of large scale private industry.