Mr. Upjit Singh Sachdeva has announced that his US$30 million rubber processing factory in Weala, Margibi County is now 98 percent complete and it’s about to become operational.
Sachdeva who is more famously known as “Jeety,” is a successful Indian businessman in Liberia. He owns and operates a number of big businesses, including real estate, travel agency, a chain of building material stores around the country, among others.
His latest investment which is the rubber processing factory is expected to come alive and revolutionize the rubber industry in Liberia.
Touching on when he is going to begin production at the factory, Jeety said, “Let me give you this good news, our factory is 98 percent complete. We will begin doing production hopefully in the next two or three or four weeks by the grace of God. We will start the production.”
He made the disclosure on recently in Weala, Margibi County where he and his team celebrated Liberia’s Independence Day with hundreds of kids in that part of Liberia.
The Indian businessman confirmed what Liberia’s Minister of Agriculture, Ms. Jeanine M. Cooper had said about the opening of the factory when she paid him a courtesy visit recently.
The Agriculture Minister disclosed that Jeety is going to fully start operation of the plant on August 24, 2023, which is one of Liberia’s major holidays-National Flag Day.
Describing Jeety’s processing plant in the overall economy and as it relates to ‘small holder farmers’ in the industry, the Agriculture Minister who is the second female to occupy the post in Liberia’s post-war existence said over the years, many farmers, having farms with sizes of between 10 to 50 acres, have joined the industry which started as a big industry not for small holders. She said those other farmers have nowhere to sell their rubber.
“To run a rubber plantation, you need so many other things beside the market where you are going to sell. You need vehicles, you need import supplies, you need to be able to make your payroll, etc. It’s a cash crop that quite an expensive one for an individual to setup.”
The Minister said for Liberian farmers in the rubber business, they need an outlet in order to sell their rubber (cup lumps).
“But what is good is that we have a few companies that buy from Liberian farmers. What happens periodically is that Firestone has always had the monopoly; they are the main big player that buys from the Liberian farmers. If Firestone plant breaks down and is unable to buy from the Liberian farmers, the whole economy feels it. During Covid they closed down, the whole economy felt it; Firestone sneezes, the rest of us can catch cold.”
The Jeety Rubber Liberia Limited would need several hundred tons of rubber daily to begin producing many rubber products including surgical gloves.
“I’m very very proud of what he has done in one year’s time. I have not seen another factory of this size being established with state-of-the-art technology and I applaud him. I am very very pleased and our Liberian farmers have this option; and they have a place to sell.”
Minister Cooper then disclosed that Jeety had promised her that he would have started manufacturing rubber articles by 2026 but that time, too, like the factory being operational in 2024, and it’s now operational, has been brought forward to 2024.
“Mr. Jeety promised me that by 2026 he would have started manufacturing] but now he is telling me that by next year 2024, he will start manufacturing rubber articles here in Liberia. And, that is the dream that we need to have because processing rubber and shipping it out for somebody else to make something and send it back to us to buy that’s not the vision.
The vision is that we will be manufacturing things, including tires. Everybody talks about tires but there are so many things, even surgical gloves.”
As she spoke about the making of the medical gloves, she turned to Jeety and said, “If you set this up and by next year you begin to manufacture surgical gloves, yours will be the first surgical gloves factory on the continent of Africa; and that market can’t finish as you saw during Covid.”
The factory, which includes warehouses, washing and treatment plants, sits on 13 hectares of property between two rivers-Weala and Borlor. It is at the moment the largest in the country. The factory building which is 132,000 sq ft in size, is completely prefabricated.
According to the agreement between the Government of Liberia and Jeety Rubber LLC, Jeety will construct, develop, and operate a national rubber processing and production plant to produce tires and other natural rubber products, including condoms for both sexes.
The processing plant is also expected to produce hand gloves, rain boots, and rubber bands, among others. The company will process approximately 25,000 tons of natural rubber per annum.
Jetty Rubber LLC entered into a concession agreement with Liberian government in December 2021.