Wilfred Enow Agbor
Cameroon agricultural products are largely from subsistence farming in rural areas of the country. This type of farming does not meet the rising demand of food in metropolitan cities and townships like Douala and Yaounde. According to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), there is scarcity of agricultural products like cassava, corn and chicken in the market; therefore there is a need to increase production.
To respond to this need, representatives of Cameroon governments and FAO met at Mansel Hotel to ascertain the difficulties farmers face in meeting with food production and distribution. Under the auspices of the Minister Delegate at the Ministry of Agriculture, Clementine Ananga Messina, FAO representative Mai Moussa Abari, there were over 306 representatives of common initiative groups and cooperatives at the meeting to share ideas.
In discussion of some of the ideas, the Minister Delegate pointed out that farmers should form groups or join cooperatives; women and youth should be involved in farming. The Delegate proceeded to add that when women and youth are involved, they should not be marginalized when the Ministry is providing aid in food productions. Both of these groups of the society should be provided with adequate financial and technical support in their agricultural endeavors if the country is to meet President Paul Biya’s vision of emerging Cameroon by 2035.
The Minister Delegate called on women and youths to form or join cooperatives. She reminded the audience that cooperatives help individual farmers produce agro products in large scales; they help individual farmers resist economic and social shock from the environment. Cooperatives provide a platform for farmers to voice their needs and work together for the betterment of everyone. It was for this reason that the United Nations, in 2012, organized the International Cooperative Day with the theme “Agricultural cooperatives feed the world. “ The event was aimed to ensure food security and eradicate hunger.
However, there is still food shortage in big cities in Cameroon. To corroborate the appraisal of the Minister Delegate, Mai Moussa Abari , FAO representative reiterated that Yaoundé and Douala have ready markets but face food scarcity due to inadequate food supply. This is why FAO, in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, has decided to financially help farmers to improve farming techniques so as to increase productivity that will sustain constant food supply.