Bong County farmer Napoleon Rennie has said that the reduction in rubber prices has affected his income and as a result he has stopped rubber farming.
Speaking to the Daily Observer over the weekend in Zeanzue Mr. Rennie lamented that the drastic cut down in the price of rubber has caused many rubber farmers including to close down their farms.
Mr. Rennie grows rice, cocoa, rubber, cassava, peppers, plantain, and also has fish ponds, among others.
The local farmer informed the Daily Observer that in 2013 the Firestone Rubber Plantations, which is the single largest rubber buying company in Liberia, bought a ton of rubber for US$ 1,000 but since then the company has considerably cut down its prices to US$ 500 per ton to the detriment of farmers.
He explained that another factor that has led to the closure of his farm was laborers were demanding for higher wages despite the reduction of prices in rubber.
“I stopped rubber farming because I cannot afford the money to pay the laborers,” Mr. Rennie explained.
Mr. Rennie told this newspaper that he has one hundred acres of land but eighty acres of it is planted with rubber, while the rest is cultivated with other cash crops.
The local farmer disclosed that if the price of rubber continues to reduce in the market, those farmers who are still engaged in it will suffer greatly because there is not sufficient profit for farmers.
He said following the reduction of prices, he has no dream of resuming activities because laborers have refused to work, requesting for better pay.
“I regret my large rubber farm because it’s not benefitting me and I will wait till the price is better,” Rennie said.
He disclosed that the Ebola crisis affected farming activities people did everything to protect themselves.
He mentioned the issue of labor force, lack of support, and high rate of criminality as major challenges.
Discussing other developments, Mr. Rennie said while slowing down his activities on planting rubber, he is now focusing on producing varieties of cassava, rice, peppers, plantain and maintaining his fish ponds.
He used the medium to call on non-governmental organizations, and the Ministry of Agriculture to provide local farmers with machines, seeds and other necessary support to strengthen them to battle against hunger in the country.
“When we see the price of rubber going up we will resume activities because I have 80 acres alone for rubber,” he said.
Mr. Rennie said the farm has been in existence for the last hundred years. It was established by his late father Mr. C. Blyden Rennie.