President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has informed the President and Managing Director of Firestone Natural Rubber Company, Mr. Edmundo Garcia, that the Liberian Government has decided to recognize the company.
The Liberian leader said the recognition of the company is a result of being supportive of the country’s recovery efforts, and will take place during Liberia’s 168th independence celebrations scheduled to be held in Greenville, Sinoe County.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the Chief Executive made the statement following a tour of the company’s Hevea Wood Operation Factory situated at Division No. 16 on Wednesday, July 1.
The visit was to acquaint herself with activities at the Firestone Company in lower Margibi County.
Responding, Managing Director Garcia reiterated his Company’s commitment to the development of the country.
He informed President Sirleaf that since the issuance of Executive Order #50 halting the export of unprocessed natural rubber, rubber theft has drastically reduced on the plantation.
He also thanked President Sirleaf for the visit, adding, “It was rewarding.”
Following the tour of the Hevea Wood Operation Factory led by Mr. Garcia and Firestone Natural Rubber Company Marketing Consultant, Mr. Richard B. Fallah, President Sirleaf presented a purse to workers as a means of encouraging them for their productivity on the job.
In 2009, Firestone Natural Rubber Company expanded its operations to manufacture Hevea wood.
Hevea wood, commonly known as ‘Rubberwood,’ ‘Parawood,’ ‘Asian Beech’ or ‘Malaysian Oak,’ is used to manufacture furniture, flooring, interior finishing, plywood, paneling, chopping blocks and staircase components.
This hardwood is typically pale cream to light brown in color with moderately coarse, straight and even texture.
Hevea wood is considered to be one of the most environmentally friendly woods. Previously, once latex production waned, trees were cut down and burned.
Now old trees are cut down and transported to the mill where they undergo a series of millings to predetermined sizes according to customer specifications.
Once milled, the wood is sorted and prepared for the pressure treatment vessel where they receive protection from insects and fungi.
The Hevea wood operation created about 500 additional jobs at Firestone Natural Rubber Company.
President Sirleaf was accompanied to Firestone by Margibi County Superintendent, John Buway; Margibi County Representative Ballah Zaza, Liberia’s Ambassador to the European Union, Ambassador Isaac W. Nyenabo, II, and the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) President, Mr. John B.S. Davis.
In 1926, the company opened one of the world's biggest rubber plantations in Liberia, West Africa, spanning more than 1 million acres.