Liberia is on the brink of a significant economic milestone as the country’s first rubber processing plant, Jeety Rubber Factory, is nearing completion.
The factory, poised to make a substantial impact on the lives of smallholder farmers and the national economy, is scheduled to commence operations within the next two months.
Founded by Upjit Singh Sachdeva, a visionary business tycoon, the groundbreaking venture is a significant stride towards Liberia’s quest for value additions as it will process raw rubber into refined products ready for export and domestic use.
“Our goal has always been to contribute to Liberia’s economic development by not only adding value to the country’s natural resources but also creating employment opportunities for the local community,” Sachdeva said.
“The factory is 98 percent completed and, in a month or two by the grace of God, we will start the production. The completion is a testament to our commitment to this vision as well as generating numerous employment opportunities for the local population, thereby contributing to poverty reduction and skills development.
The Rubber Factory is strategically located in Weala, Cinta District, Margibi County — a region known for its abundant rubber plantations.
Equipped with cutting-edge technology and adhering to the highest quality standards, the factory is poised to meet the growing demand for rubber-based products across industries such as automotive, construction, consumer goods, both locally and across the sub-region.
The Minister of Agriculture, Jeanine Cooper, while inspecting ongoing construction works at the factory a few weeks ago, noted that the US$30 million investment would play a critical role in providing additional revenue outlets for smallholder and large-scale rubber farmers in dire need of cash.
The factory, Cooper noted, would address the critical issue of financial insecurity faced by rubber farmers, playing a pivotal role in ensuring that farmers can sustain their livelihoods and improve their economic well-being.
“Firestone is the main big player that buys from the Liberian farmers,” Cooper said during a visit to the factory over the weekend. “If the Firestone plant breaks down and they can’t buy from the Liberian farmers, the whole economy feels it.”
Liberia, arguably the most prime location for production of natural rubber in the world, has traditionally been a major exporter of raw rubber, leaving farmers, particularly smallholders who constitute a significant portion of the agricultural workforce, struggling at the mercy of export markets when it comes to obtaining fair prices.
However, the factory, which is in dire need of rubber for processing, now emerges as a key player in bridging the gap between farmers and the market, offering them a reliable avenue to generate income as it has the capacity to process more than 60 tons per hour.”Moreover, the establishment of the factory will likely stimulate related industries, fostering a ripple effect of economic growth in the country,” Sachdeva added.