Monrovia — The president of the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) has called for a robust and innovative rubber sector in Liberia.
Mr. John B. S. Davies, III, also wants a master plan that will guide and improve the sector to compete with international best practices.
According to the LBDI president, he wants to see the rubber sector brings value to the industry in the country.
Mr. Davies, III informed that when value is added to the rubber sector, it will greatly help to stimulate the Liberian economy, which is going through one of its worst periods.
The LBDI boss noted that Liberia has stayed long in the exploration of raw rubber without getting any positive benefits from the product.
He said to jump-start the recovery process of the rubber industry in Liberia, specific focus should be placed on several factors in term of accessing where the industry is, and to provide an opportunity as to where the sector needs to head.
Mr. Davies, III further said one of the factors the sector is faced with is that it is being driven by goals and objectives from three dominating stakeholders, whom he failed to name.
"I will not call names but every single rubber farmer in this country knows that they don't influence the price mechanism of rubber in any way. They are straight true producers of raw output and as the result, it is difficult to plan their own economic situations in the midst of those factors that are beyond their control," he stated.
The LBDI president indicated that though the rubber sector has a number of expectations, but there are few obligations that cannot be ignored.
He said there has been a little or poor focus on value added by the private sector, NGOs and stakeholders.
He also named the limitation of rubber processing facilities as one of the challenges the sector is faced with, saying, "It needs to be fixed now if the industry is to grow."
Mr. Davies, III spoke at a one-day forum on the Liberian rubber sector organized by his institution in Monrovia.
The purpose of the exercise was to come up with innovative ways and suggestions that the government can rely on to work with the rubber sector in archiving several of the many economic goals of Liberia.
He challenged participants to not relent on pointing out those obligations the sector has; adding: "It will help to better up the rubber sector of Liberia."
Davies, III, who is also president of the Liberia Bankers Association, disclosed that since the 1920s, Liberia has been in the exportation of raw rubber without taking in consideration the impact the trade has on the international world market.
According to him, there is the need to look at innovative and alternative ways and technology for the processing of raw rubber in Liberia.
In remarks, the president of the Rubber Planters Association of Liberia (RPAL), Wilhelmina Siaway, among other things said it is the focus of the leadership of the RPAL to add value to rubber and establish a training institution in the country.
She also used the occasion to assure the bank that members of the association will do all they can to abide by the policy of banking institutions as it regards loan payment.
"We want to assure you, Mr. President, that our members are fully prepared to follow and obey all the rules and regulations of the banks that will give our members loan; we will pay back the loans trust us," she noted.
The forum was graced by the Ministers of Agriculture, Finance and Development Planning and the head of the Cooperative Development Agency.