RPAL holds 6th national congress
By Patrick C.M. Kollie
Liberia’s Agriculture Minister, Jeannie Cooper, has underscored the need of revamping and empowering the agriculture sector, especially local farmers in the rubber sector across the country. According to her, catalyzing the rural development and empowering small farm holders is key to the uplifting of the Agriculture sector of Liberia, which she said has not been taken into consolidation by her predecessors and which has stifled improvement in the sector.
Speaking to reporters recently in Kakata City at the Rubber Planters Association of Liberia’s sixth national congress, prior to her confirmation by the Liberian senate, Madame Cooper promised to catalyze rural development and focus on empowering small farm holders. She noted that if agriculture is to drive transformation in economic development, there should be a method to link planting, cultivation and the business.
Meanwhile, the Madame Cooper said expanding the cultivated area of all crops and producing larger farms by using 21st Century tenets will be her focus, while serving the Liberian people as the country’s agriculture head.
Madame Cooper, who is a former vice president of RPAL, said despite what appears to be Liberia’s deficiency in terms of manufacturing rubber materials, the Rubber Planters Association of Liberia, the Liberian-owned rubber industry, have made and continue to make some significant progress over the years.
“Now we are talking about producing ribbed smoked sheets and we have several factories that are doing that, which is a value addition for rubber. So we don’t always have to be held hostage for our raw materials only, we have factories that are producing technically specified rubber – TSR1. This is the direction the Liberian rubber industry is supposed to go,” she said.
Serving as keynote speaker at the two-day RPAL sixth national Congress, held at the Booker Washington Institute campus, Kakata City, Margibi County, Madame Cooper urged members of the Rubber Planters Association of Liberia to assert efforts in investing the manufacturing of products made from natural rubber.
During the RPAL congress, the association elected new corps of officers to steer its affairs for the next two years. Mrs. Wilhemina G. Mulbah-Siaway was re-elected on white ballot as President for her second term for a period of two years, Galima Baysah was elected Vice President and Franklin W. Philip, Executive Director.
RPAL also bestowed honors on several key players in the agriculture sector of Liberia, including Firestone Liberia, Liberia Agriculture Company (LAC), Salala Rubber Corporation, as well as Lee Group of Companies, among others.
Commenting on her re-election, Wilhemina G. Mulbah-Siaway said, her re-election by colleagues was based on her performance to resuscitate the association from its poor status to its advance level. She said, she took over the association without an income, office (rental building), stressing that just in the shortest period of time, from 2018 up to her re-election, RPAL has obtained membership internationally and established nutria with improve bud-wood. She these bud-wood will be given to farmers to help improve their productions in the markets.
She said since 1966, the association has not been ushered in it owned building, but her administration has embarked on the construction of the RPAL multipurpose building that, when completed, will add value to association. She encouraged rubber farmers in the country to increase their holdings and add value to their natural rubber production in order to revamp the industry.