Liberia: Rubber Industry Calls for Gov't Support

Harrison G. Karnwea, chief executive officer of Nimba Rubber Incorporated, has stressed the need for the government to prioritize or support the rubber industry of Liberia. 

He said the rubber industry accounts for the majority of the country’s total employment and therefore needs to be sustained by the national government.

“The government needs to prioritize agriculture, especially the rubber sector which is the biggest employer of this country. The unemployment that we are talking about so much today is caused by the demise of the rubber sector,” he added.

The CEO of the Nimba Rubber Incorporated, who is also the former Managing Director of the Liberia's Forestry Development Authority, said, “Our contribution to the economy of the country has been overlooked and I think we need to go and sit with them and discuss with them how much contribution we have made and how we deserve the little bit of money that we contribute to the government.” 

According to Karnwea, many of them benefited from rubber money that made them who they are today and are therefore calling on the government authority, especially the Ministry of Agriculture, to understand that the sector cannot be overlooked and cannot be taken lightly. 

Mr. Karnwea made the remarks on Tuesday, March 22, 2022, when he delivered the keynote address at the induction ceremony of the newly elected officials of the Rubber Planters Association of Liberia (RPAL) to steer the affairs of the organization for the next two years.

The event, which took place at the RPAL headquarters located at Cooper Farm, Todee District, Montserrado County, brought together officials of the government, Firestone Liberia, the Ministry of Agriculture, and citizens of both Montserrado and Margibi Counties. 

He further stated that the industry needs the support of the government to ensure that those who are in the business are assisted to ensure that productivity increases, efficiency increases as well as help people to earn a living. 

Mr. Karnwea said, “Mr. President, we look up to you to take us to another level as you can see your predecessor has tried by taking this establishment from zero to hero. So we expect you now to take it to the top level. For those of us in the sector, we just need to continue to hold together, work together and with the big players so that we get assistance. 

“This sector has struggled for almost all funding throughout the year. During the Ebola year, the government intervened to some extent through the intervention of the Rubber Planters Association of Liberia under the presidency of Mr. Benjamin Garnett. Unfortunately, most of you small farmers at the bottom of the ladder that need the money so much in most cases were unable to access the fund. The reasons being that the banks demand collateral and most of us have small farms.” 

Delivering his Presidential speech, the newly inducted President Tokpah John Mulbah pledged his administration’s commitment to protect the legacy of RPAL.

Mr. Mulbah, in his induction address, lauded the past Leadership of the RPAL for the level of work done in giving the institution a modern office that can host all the Rubber Planters across the Country.

The RPAL’s new President further promised to engage his former colleagues at the 54th National Legislature for the full implementation of the Rubber Development Fund, an act that was, according to him, created during his term of service at the 53rd.

He also used the medium to appreciate Firestone Liberia for their cooperation and support to the sector for the past years.

For her part, the outgoing President of the institution, Madam Wilhelmina G. Mulbah Siaway, further challenged the leadership of President Mulbah to take responsibility for rubber planters and buyers in the fifteen sub Political divisions of Liberia.

Madam Siaway however termed her administration as perfect, based on the numerous contributions and support she received from partners and the Central government.

The RPAL’s outgoing leader revealed that she foresees improvement under the administration of the organization’s new leadership, and called on all rubber planters and buyers to work together for the sustainability of the entity.

Meanwhile, those inducted into office included Former Deputy House Speaker and former Bong County Electoral District#1 Representative, Tokpah J. Mulbah, President; Harris F. Kpangbah Sr; Vice President.

Other officials were inducted to serve as County coordinators, including Amos Copper for Bong county; George Freeman, Bomi County; Madison G. Tarr, Grand Bassa County, Emmanuel Yates, Grand Cape Mount County; Winston Diggs, Margibi County; Diggs Barkollie Montserrado County; Rufus S. Date, Nimba county.

Others, still, include Sam Chelly of Grand Gedeh; T. Bannie Brown, Maryland; Paul UV Karyeah of River cess; Jackson Wesseh, River Gee County; Mlahn Flomo, Lofa County; Momo Kanneh, Gbarpolu; Greene S. Bonner, Sinoe; and Samson Klah Wilson, Grand Kru County. 

The induction ceremony was performed by former Bong County District #3 Representative George Mulbah.