Scott 278 5c

The picture of this stamp is about farming.

There is a guy on a ladder picking fruit. It looks like oranges, or something similar.
But I didn't think Liberia grew oranges. I did a quick google and in 1960 they grew a lot of oranges.

Does anyone know if this stamp is about growing oranges?


  • From the original sketch of the stamp, it just says"farming scene" and the ABNCo file copy doesn't add anymore information other than it was taken from the sketch. During the 1940s, rubber was Liberia's only export of any consequence and I have never seen anything about oranges in Liberia at that time. I did find the following:

    In 1967 the first pineapple exports from. Liberia took place. The quantity was small but the quality satisfactory. However, transportation costs remain a problem. Growing conditions are also good for a number of other tropical fruits, especially citrus fruits

  • edited September 2020

    I lived and worked in Monrovia for several years in the early 70's and can confirm that local oranges were common although whether they were exported in any number I don't know

    A common sight was to see a woman with a small roadside stall selling a variety of local foodstuffs - cups of rice (the staple food), local vegetables and oranges
    These would usually be available for a few cents and would either be cut in half so you could eat the fruit there and then and be left whole with a small amount of the top cut off so you could massage the fruit and then drink the juice.

    For me they were rather odd at first because although the inside fruit was the usual orange the outer skin was always green. I initially thought these must be unripe but they were always ready to eat.
    I late found out that the colour change in the outer skin is a similar process to leaves turning colour in the Fall but with the constant temperature in this part of Africa this doesn't happen.

    Some of the fruit must have come from farms (as in the stamp) but quite a lot was picked from semi-wild trees that grew round and about

    Bananas, pineapple, papaya, coconut were all readily available also.

    I suspect the guy on the bottom in a rice field. Upland rice tended to be grown rather than in the rice paddy fields although when I was there Liberia wasn't self sufficient in rice production.
    Given that Liberia used the US $ this meant that imported rice prices could rise markedly and caused a lot of hardship given many people were on subsistence living. Malnutrition was common, particualrly in the capital where many people had moved to from up country but work was very hard to find.

    Hope that helps

  • Oranges were probably not farmed for export, but definitely for the local market.
    The fruit produced in the coast regions consists of coconuts, pineapples, oranges, limes, mangoes, papaws. Avocado pears, "sour sop," bananas, and plantains.
    Johnston, Harry & Otto Stapf (1906): Liberia. Vol. I, page 426.

    According to Johnston's book oranges have been grown in Liberia long before the settlers arrived. Orange trees were introduced by the Portuguese all along the West African coast together with lime, coconut palm, pineapple, papaw, chili pepper, and tobacco plant.
  • Chili's were everywhere

    Everyone used them in cooking so everything was HOT!
    Partly to add flavour to anything and partly to disguise low quality ingredients

    When I got back to the UK everything tasted so bland after chilis with everything for years
  • Thanks all. I didn't mention it but I had already checked Rogers book. Usually he has insights to the stamp topics.

    FYI, I have a "green" orange tree on the sidewalk in my front yard in Houston. I thought it strange. But most orange trees around the world actually have green-skinned fruit, or at least in South America and Africa. I think that "orange" oranges are really the anomaly... at least no one picks my fruit walking by my house because they think they are either limes or not ripe! Too funny!

    Anyway, a fellow collector is doing an exhibit on "oranges". He wanted to use this stamp in his exhibit. So that is the reason for my inquiry.

    But I became intrigued because I had not yet studied this stamp in any detail.
  • Regarding chilies, I think all tropical climates, especially around the equator historically used chilies because they had no way of preserving food (pre-electricity). Making food "hot" allowed people to use spoiled food more readily.

    Some cultures salted or pickled foods, etc.
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