The general manager and team leader of GROW-Liberia has promised to work with small rubber farmers in Liberia to ensure that the value of their product becomes a reality.
Mr. Jaime Reibel made the promise last Saturday in Kakata, Margibi County at the end of a weeklong technical training for Ribbed Smoked Sheets (RSS) production in Liberia.
More than 50 participants, including stakeholders, as well as owners of smaller farms from the sector, attended the training held at Bright Farms in Margibi County.
The training was organized by GROW-Liberia, in collaboration with an international business developer, which is financed by Adam Smith International, based in London, England.
GROW is a Swedish-founded project that is involved in market development and change in the country.
According to Reibel, GROW’s interest in the rubber sector is designed to facilitate interventions that will create, strengthen and repair the market-driven rubber value chain.
He said it is not enough to produce technically high grade RSS as an alternative to the sale of raw latex.
Reibel stressed the need for focus to be placed on market mechanisms by way of the value chain, which include planting, tapping, and transporting latex, among others.
He disclosed that GROW envisages the establishment of upstream factories in Liberia to enhance locally produced RSS to manufacture products.
He noted that RSS training for farmers will see the farmer make better income, and will lead to national development.
Earlier, Dr. Tillekeratne, an international rubber expert and a former director of the Rubber Research Institute of Sri Lanka, who facilitated the week-long exercise, taught the participants about the processes involved with the development of Liberia’s RSS industry as well as training RSS manufacturers and their affiliated clusters of smallholder rubber producers.
He encouraged participants to turn their raw latex into RSS so that they can get a good quality for export.
“Turning latex into RSS will increase the income of farmers,” he said, adding that it will enable farmers to develop their farms and pay their workers better wages.
He added that Liberia has a good weather to grow rubber and other plants, noting that the RSS is a value added process that gives farmers better income for their rubber.
The head of Bright Farms, Richard Bright, said the training has helped farmers to know how important it is to turn the latex into the RSS, and how they could generate better income to develop their farms.
He expressed gratitude for the training, “because it will help educate farmers on how they could develop their sector and attract greater income generation.”
Mr. Bright indicated that GROW has shown farmers the path of sourcing markets while, at the same time, helping to develop a market for themselves.
The vice president of the Rubber Planters Association of Liberia (RPAL), Madam Williametta Mulbah, who also participated in the training, spoke on behalf of her colleagues, lauding GROW for the training, for which she said she and her colleagues were deeply grateful.
Traning participants were also certificated by GROW Liberia.