Marigibi County Flag
Rubber Farmers Appeal For Return of Land Deeds
By Richard Baysah, LINA Margibi County Correspondent
KAKATA, June 22 (LINA) - The Concerned Rubber Farmers of the former Liberia Rubber Development Unit (LRDU) are appealing to the Liberian Government to return their land deeds to enable them regain access to their farmlands.
In an interview with the Liberia News Agency in Kakata recently, the chairman of the Concerned Rubber Farmers, Stephen Momolu, said they were finding it difficult to make any legitimate claim to their farmlands without their deeds.
Chairman Momolu explained that prior to the Liberian civil crisis, over 500 rubber farmers across the country entered into an agreement with the Liberia Rubber Development Authority (LRDA), formerly the LRDU, to plant rubber on their lands so that when the trees reach maturity, all rubber crops would be sold to the LRDA until the amount owed it was fully liquidated.
The LRDA was established by government in the late 1970s under a World Bank Agricultural Development Project to help in overseeing these projects in the country.
He said under the agreement, they gave the original copies of their land deeds to the LRDA as collateral before rubber was planted on their farms.
He said almost all of the rubber trees on their farms were slaughter tapped during the Liberian civil crisis.
He added that some unscrupulous individuals have also encroached on their farmlands with the connivance of some town chiefs and other officials.
He said whenever they go to court and are asked to present the original deeds for their lands they are unable to do so because the Central Bank of Liberia is in possession of these deeds.
He said they have made several appeals to the Central Bank to return their original land deeds to enable them redeem their farmlands to no avail, as the Central Bank is insisting that they pay back the loan before the deeds can be returned.
He said while the Liberian government is endeavoring to quell land conflicts across the country, the plight of the rubber farmers also has the propensity to undermine these efforts.