Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Liberia, Ebola, Firestone and a Rubber Farm

Liberia and Ebola is in the News. A Rubber Farm (Estate for us Sri Lankans) leased by Firestone is also in the news  as one of the few places where Ebola has been stopped from spreading.

What the articles dont mention about the Rubber Farm is that it is a million acres (4% of the land in Liberia), and in 2005 the lease was renewed for 37 years at USD 0.50 cents/acre.   I could not find out if the 0.50 was for a year, or for the 37 years.

Over here in Sri Lanka an acre of Rubber is over USD 10,000 (LKR Million).  So for the price of one acre of Rubber in Sri Lanka one can lease 540 acres for 37 years.   Talk about exploitation of Africa.

Note: Firestone is currently owned by Bridgestone which is Japanese.

Some Facts of Liberia and the Rubber Farm
  • In 1820, the American Colonization Society (ACS) establishes colony of African Americans with tradition infused with American notions of racial supremacy, and political republicanism.

  • 1847 Independent Republic of Liberia created. The leadership of the new nation consisted largely of the Americo-Liberians.

  • Supported by prominent American politicians such as Abraham Lincoln, Henry Clay, and James Monroe, believed repatriation was preferable to freeing of slaves.

  • Indigenous Africans were excluded from citizenship until 1904.

  • 1926, the Liberian government granted Firestone a 99-year lease for a million acres (to be chosen by the company wherever in Liberia) at a price of 6 cents per acre.  Thats 4% of the countrys 27,520,000 acres.

  • Firestone also provided a $5 million loan at a 7% interest rate.

  • The loan was given in exchange for complete authority over the government's revenues until the loan was paid.

  • The loan took a larger and larger portion of the Liberian government's incomes: it grew from 20% of the total revenue of Liberia in 1929, to 32% in 1930, to 54.9% in 1931 and nearly the whole revenue in 1932.

  • In 2005, the Firestone Company and the Liberian government signed a new 37-year deal raising the lease to 50 cents per acre .