By Cyprian Ntiamba Obi Ntui in Yaounde
The World Bank office in Cameroon is touting its achievements in helping local producers of staples get linked up with industries. According to Abdoulaye Seck, the World Bank’s Country Director for Cameroon, some breweries in the country now buy raw materials for their beer from local farmers. The official attributed this to the investment made in supporting the activities of the Agricultural Investment Market Development Project, PIDMA. Through this, the production of staples like cassava, sorghum, and corn has been boosted greatly in Cameroon. In which case, farmers are not only able to attain food self sufficiency, but have excess for export.
Specifically, the official stated that the implementation of the PIDMA helped double, triple, and even quadruple yields and improve quality in the sorghum, corn, and cassava cultivation and production sector, the Country Director explained. He added that the project also opened the agric-food market and the entire value chain to beneficiaries.
Though the country executive provided no specific figures on the said yields, he insisted that there were tangible impacts of the projects that are observable in the sorghum value chain. Indeed, he adds, “thanks to PIDMA, sorghum producers in the northern region can now easily supply raw materials to Guinness Cameroon. They were also able to build and inaugurate (on January 10, 2020) a sorghum hulling and storage unit,” he stated.
The Country Director further revealed that thanks to the PIDMA coordination team sorghum producers who are now grouped into cooperatives were able to increase their selling price by 20% while corn producers increased theirs by about 13% on average. He recalled that PIDMA, in 2015 launched a project that was funded, to the tune of 50 FCFA billion, by the World Bank. According to official figures, within five years, 140,000 farmers have benefited from the project aimed at improving the productivity and competitiveness of the corn, cassava, and sorghum value chains.