6 June 2018

Liberia: Cooper Farm Stresses Manufacturing for Development

The Chief Executive Officer or CEO of Cooper Farm, a Liberian-owned business says solution to growth and development in Liberia lies in manufacturing products for exportation.

"If this country must get back on the right trajectory, in terms of getting development as compared to our neighboring countries, there is a need to focus on manufacturing our own products here", he suggests.

Speaking Monday, 4th June at the official launch of call to action for creating rubber manufacturing jobs at his farm in Blagai, along Bomi highway, western Liberia, Mr. Cooper stresses that President George Weah's call for development to boost the economy thru manufacture industry for export cannot be over emphasized.

He says the objective behind Cooper Farm is to create an environment that would create jobs, saying "because we are aware that 90 percent of people in Bomi County are unemployed; this is one of the many things that prompted us to bring this industry here."

He continues that other countries have put online rubber processing plant that can take cupper, process it and send it to places where tyers are manufactured, adding, "If they can make tyers in other countries, rubber gloves, among others then we ourselves can make those things here in Liberia."

Mr. Cooper says this is a call to service by using the opportunity to create jobs. "Our agenda is consistent with what the President has said; we have people who stay here long time and did nothing like we doing here so this is our vision for this industry."

He says Cooper Farm has 150 employees and each of those employees cater to about 10 dependents at their various homes, so he has a calling as a Liberian to empower ordinary citizens.

He discloses plan to establish micro-manufacturing opportunity where small farmers can work together and start manufacturing products that are imported here.

"We don't just want small farmers to be producing and selling only, but to add value to their work, so this is why we want to create this mini-micro manufacturing opportunity."

The farm was established in 1956 by his late father, Mr. James E. Cooper, Sr., who perceived the critical importance of the rubber sector in a modern economy.

"We strongly believe that to remain a sustainable job creation entity, it must venture into manufacturing of rubber products for sale throughout West Africa"

He narrates that his institution produces TSR 10 rubber for export to Malaysia and the USA, adding, "We also have the capacity to produce Ribbed Smoked Sheets also for exporting."

Meanwhile, the President of the Rubber Planters Association of Liberia (RPAL) Mrs. Wilhemina G. Mulbah Siaway, lauds Mr. Cooper for his efforts aimed at redeeming the rubber sector of Liberia, noting that manufacturing is the way forward.

Madam Siaway underscores a need to collaborate, coordinate, and create partnership in helping one another, but warns against divisiveness, as it undermines development.

"To actualize development, we need to manufacture our own products and export them to foreign countries to boost the economy and generate more revenues for the country", she urges.

According to her, manufacturing is the focus of the rubber industry, so it should not be taken for granted, and Liberia cannot improve in the absence of rubber.

The ceremony brought together government officials, including Inspector General of Police, Solicitor General of Liberia, Cllr. Dako Mulbah, Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) President John Davies, members of the Bankers Association, Small Holders Farmers from various counties, among others.

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