Liberia’s Rubber Farmers Assoc. Breaks Ground for New Headquarters in Margibi County


Margibi County – The Rubber Planters Association of Liberia (RPAL) has broken grounds for the construction of its first national headquarters on the corridor of the Suakoko Highway in Todee District, Montserrado County.

Report by Yawah Y. Jaivey, Contributor

The RPAL’s US$70.000.00 proposed multipurpose headquarters, when completed, will comprise of offices and a resource center.

Wilhelmina G. Mulbah Siaway, President of the Rubber Planters Association of Liberia speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, said the initiative will strengthen the RPAL and put it on par with other regional and international institutions in the rubber industry.

“As we now have a membership with the international community, we stand to host these people in return. With our own headquarters, we would be able to host them and give them similar reception that they give us when we visit them.” Madam Siaway stated.

She revealed that the RPAL’s multipurpose building will be used as a resource center for the training of its members, especially smallholder rubber farmers on new rubber farming technologies that are yet to be introduced to the rubber industry of  Liberia.

Madam Siaway intimated that despite Liberia’s involvement in the cultivation of rubber as far back as the 1900s, the country is still lacking behind other countries that recently joined the planting of rubber.

“Our country has not been able to acquire the new technologies in rubber farming, especially the introduction of the new breeds of rubber that other countries are engaged into planting; these breeds have greatly proved their production.” The RPAL’s President noted.

She stressed that it was never late for Liberia to get on par with other countries, but that would only require the collaborative efforts of stakeholders in the rubber industry and the Liberia Government in the achievement of such task.

For his part, Rep. Prince Tokpa, the Chairperson on the House of Represenatives’ Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, praised the leadership of the RPAL for their farsightedness of the dream to erect an office space of its own.

The Nimba County Lawmaker disclosed that the rubber sector is one of the bedrocks of the Liberian economy is being faced with mounting challenges, including the fall in the global price of rubber which has incapacitated farm owners to meet the demands of employees.

He added that these problems have triggered widespread protests across the country on rubber farms and subsequently close down some of the rubber farms.

Rep. Tokpa revealed that it was against such backdrop that the Legislature allotted in the 2018/2019 National Budget the amount of US$1.7 Million in order to help in the revamping the rubber industry.

Despite the allocation, Rep. Tokpa said not a dime has been remitted by the Ministry of Finance and Development, and Planning (MFDP), craving the authorities at the MFDP to ensure that such funding is made affordable to the requisite institution to help with the revamping process of the rubber sector.

Also speaking, Margibi County Senator Oscar A. Cooper called on the Rubber Planters Association of Liberia to provide equal opportunity to smallholder farmers in the areas of loan and training.

Senator Cooper said smallholder farmers are equally playing an important role in the economic development of Liberia adding, “the small farmers whether with one or two tappers are helping with the employment problem in Liberia.”