Monrovia, Liberia – During a meeting with the African Development Bank delegation at the Liberian Finance Ministry, Minister Tweah said rubber farmers need US$10 Million for value addition since Firestone, the largest rubber company in the country, was no longer buying rubber from out-growers because Firestone had been planting trees over the years and can now produce enough not to buy rubber from elsewhere.
This, according to him, means that rubber out-growers (farmers) are now under pressure to sustain the sector, and have therefore identified value addition such as processing, as the surest way to create jobs, sustain employment and boost revenue.
Minister Tweah emphasized that access to finance is a broader private sector challenge, and the rubber sector which employs a lot of people, is no exception.
AfDB Vice President for Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization, Solomon Quaynor, looked on in apparent shock that such a critical sector of the economy could face the threat of collapse.
Tweah also commended the AfDB and welcomed the proposal to establish the Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Bank (YEIB) in Liberia to build the entrepreneur skills of young Liberians and increase access to finance.
He noted that this project would also ease pressure on the public (government) sector amid the negative economic impact of COVID-19, the Russia-Ukraine war, as well as the growing numbers of young people entering the job market.