LAC

In Liberia, the LAC (Liberian Agricultural Company) plantation is today a model example of a sustainable post-conflict development project, despite the economic turmoil and political events that the country has experienced. Here is some historical background.

The LAC concession was created by the government in 1959 and later purchased by Uniroyal. Starting in 1961, the company developed a 7 000 hectare rubber plantation there.

During the 1980s, rubber prices were low and social and administrative investments were insufficient. The civil wars of the 1990s and early 2000s which followed, caused the destruction of the rubber industry. These wars also led to a loss of technical knowledge about rubber production, which affected many Liberians (50 % of them had worked in agriculture before the civil wars).

In 1998, at the request of the donors (the World Bank and the French Development Agency), Socfin became involved in the rehabilitation of the LAC plantation, whose production facility and fields were by then in a state of total ruin.

Huge efforts were made to relaunch the plantation. Priority was given to social infrastructure such as homes, schools and hospitals. After this, the factory was rebuilt and new administrative buildings were erected. The plots that had been destroyed during the war were replanted and extensions were made until 2007. Since then, the replanting of ageing plots has been initiated in order to rejuvenate the plantation and improve productivity without any environmental impact.

At present, rubber is Liberia’s main export crop, and LAC is the country’s second largest producer, with a volume of over 15 000 tons per year.

In view of the continuing instability in Liberia, few foreign investors have taken the leap and become involved there. Despite this, since the resumption of agricultural activities the plantation has been one of the major economic players in the country.

Today, more than 30 000 people are directly dependent on the activities of the Liberian Agricultural Company and have seen their living conditions improve in various ways:
- employment on the plantation;
- a permanent income for more than 5 200 people;
- schools;
- a hospital serving the entire region;
- further vocational training, etc.

Finally, LAC’s production facility has been ISO 9001 certified since 2009.



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