Wheat has been receiving special attention from the state for several weeks. Although not unprecedented, the government is still intent on moving from experiments in cultural revival to large-scale transformation. To achieve this goal, the President recently authorized the allocation of 10.3 billion CFA francs to the Institute for Agricultural Research for Development (Irad). This grant, which will be distributed over 5 years, will serve development of wheat production and processing in Cameroon. Or 3 billion in 2022; 2.75 billion in 2023; 3.1 billion in 2024; 1 billion in 2025 and finally 450 million in 2026. To this should be added another package of 23 billion FCFA, which the African Development Bank (AfDB) has just given to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. According to Gabriel Mbayrobe, the head of this ministerial department will serve primarily to increase the production of certain sectors, for example, wheat.
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Another public entity can also contribute to the development of the flour milling sector in Cameroon. This is the National Social Insurance Fund (NSS). Noel Alain Olivier Mekulu Mvondo Akame, CEO of this government agency responsible for providing benefits to insured workers, recently expressed interest in “We are ready to do it. If, for example, there is a big wheat production project, we will start it with great enthusiasm as soon as the President of the Republic asks us to do so. We are also enthusiastic about doing this in other areas. In doing so, I encourage us to ask for a financial contribution to this or any other initiative of a similar nature. We can do it, we can afford ithe confided to our colleagues at Cameroon Business Today.
In December 2020, as part of the parliamentary session devoted to the adoption of the 2021 budget, Noel Alain Olivier Mekulu Mvondo Akame indicated that the structure he is in charge of has 850 billion FCFA in assets, including 400 billion in realized and available assets (buildings , banks, etc.) and 325 billion in cash, hard cash. In addition, dividends received from numerous financial investments of this structure grow almost every year. According to the general director of CNPS “We started from about seven billion CFA francs four years ago to 20 billion CFA francs today. This means that over the past five years we have overestimated the income from investments. And in the next 5 years, we intend to double themrevealed by Noel Alain Olivier Mekula Mvondo Akame.
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This significant financial legacy can be a godsend for Cameroon’s wheat sector, whose development requires the mobilization of significant resources. In its economic note published in April 2022, Irad already highlighted this problem “Despite progress in agricultural research, very limited financial capacity (…) prevents large-scale transformation of the wheat value chain in Cameroon. Hence the need to develop investment initiatives that will allow our country to gain autonomy in local resources to support Cameroon’s industry.“, Irad explains. As for Gabriel Mbayrobe, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, he even threw in the towel “”For more than 10 years, Minader has been testing wheat in Adamawa in Wassande, in the west in Bangurein, Bangua and Bansoa. Trials are ongoing. But today we must admit that wheat is a very greedy crop for fertilizers. We are required to apply at least 400 kilograms of fertilizer per hectare, and with the rapid increase in fertilizer prices, you understand that the big promotion of wheat cultivation in Cameroon is not tomorrow.“, he told the Cameroon tribune, a government newspaper, in its March 31 edition.
It will be recalled that, according to the International Trade Center, Cameroon spent more than 548 billion FCFA on wheat imports during 2012-2017. In 2020 alone, the country imported 860,000 tons worth FCFA 156 billion
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