The management of Cocopa, now Nimba Rubber Inc, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, has begun distribution of farming materials to about 300 Rubber farmers in Nimba.
The Human Resource Manager, Mr. Gondehyee Nenwah said the supplies are intended to enable the farmers to reopen their farms so as to sell their produce (Rubber) to the company.
He explained that most of the rubber farmers were finding it hard to open their rubber plantations due to a lack of materials, such as tapping knives, acid water cups, among others.
The materials distributed include acid water cups and cup wire; each farmer was able to receive at least 1000 cups, a tin of acid, and a bundle of wire.
“We are distributing over 300 tins of acid, over 300 rolls of wire, and more than 100,000 cups, among others,” he said.
However, the farmers have expressed happiness over the distribution, saying it was timely and will surely enhance their productivity.
Lincoln Yarkpar, a farmer from Lao Chiefdom, expressed happiness and added that he had been selling rubber to Firestone and had not been able to get any such materials.
“My rubber farm covers over eight hectares of land, but I am really happy to receive these items. It appears small to others, but it is great to me,” he said.
Since the Liberia Company/LIBCO and the Government of Liberia ended their concession agreement and the Cocopa concession was turned over to Nimba Rubber Inc, the company is yet to recover, with the entire plantation still in ruin.
Delays in salary and other benefits are among some of the challenges Nimba Rubber Inc. faces, but they managed to refurbish the rubber processing factory.
The company is still struggling to feed the factory with rubber, as most of the rubber trees are now depleted and the new plantation is not yet mature for tapping.
Because of these factors or conditions, the management began purchasing rubber from local farmers so as to increase production at the factory.
Last year, the company became indebted to the farmers, leaving most of the farmers to divert their sales to Firestone.
The ongoing distribution is likely to motivate the local farmers to resume selling to the company as it used to last year.
“I am going to encourage more farmers to come sell to Cocopa, because what they are doing is beyond our expectation,” said Lincoln Yarkpa, a farmer.
B. Newon Yanay, a farmer from Gbor Garwonpa, appreciated the management for the distribution, which he said will help to ease their rubber from spoiling.
Recently, the CDC led Government settled Cocopa’s most controversial severance salary for those who worked for the company up to 1990.
According to the Ministry of Labor, the government successfully concluded the final payment of US$772,425 to the 596 former workers of the Liberia Company, also known as Cocopa Rubber Plantation.
The head of Human Resources, Gondeyee Nenwah, confirmed the payment, but said there were still some former workers remaining, who also fall in the same category.