Harbel, Liberia, West Africa – June 2019 – Firestone Liberia, Inc., in conjunction with the Rubber Development Fund, has donated 1,000 high-quality bud grafted rubber trees to local rubber farmers in Bong County. The joint project is part of a longer-term nationwide commitment to establishing bud wood gardens throughout the country, sharing industry best practices, and ultimately helping strengthen the natural rubber industry in Liberia.
The exercise took place at farms in Gaytayeah and Galimah Basah located in Bong County, and the bud wood gardens will ultimately benefit more than 75 rubber farms in the area through the establishment of high-quality bud-grafted and planting materials that are wind and disease-resistant.
Speaking during the donation event, the Executive Director of the Rubber Development Fund, Julius Sele, recounted Firestone’s role in Liberia, “Firestone has been in the rubber business for several decades in Liberia, and the company has contributed to the social and economic development of the country. Without Firestone, a lot of things would not have happened. Even during the civil war, Firestone remained here. The company has been one of Liberia’s reliable partners, and we believe that an initiative such as this demonstrates Firestone’s long-standing relationship with Liberia and Liberian rubber farmers.”
Nirmal Paily, Manager of Firestone’s Farm Advisory Services, said that the company has an ongoing educational program to conduct agricultural workshops throughout the rubber belt of Liberia. Training incudes education in the proper techniques of planting, growing, tapping and care of rubber trees. To date, the company’s education efforts have benefited approximately 4,000 farmers. “The 1,000 bud-grafted trees donated by Firestone Liberia are comprised of some of the highest yielding clones in the industry, including GT-1, PB-260 and PB-350,” said Paily. “We are very excited to be working with the Rubber Development Fund to support the country’s farmers through training, resulting in potential for increased productivity and income.”
Speaking for the farmers in Gaytayeah Town, Bong County, farming coordinator Jerry Kotia praised Firestone Liberia for the initiative and thanked the company for providing basic education on the use of modern bud-grafting techniques and farming methods as a way of improving their farms.
About Firestone Natural Rubber Company, LLC:
Firestone Natural Rubber Company, LLC traces its origins back to 1926 when The Firestone Tire & Rubber Company first established a natural rubber production facility in Liberia, West Africa. The company operates a 118,000-acre rubber growing and processing facility, employing approximately 6,000 teammates who harvest and process natural rubber. After processing, the natural rubber is shipped to Bridgestone Americas’ tire plants in North America for the manufacture of tires. Firestone Natural Rubber Company, LLC is a subsidiary of Bridgestone Americas, Inc.