Source:| Ngwenekome Priscilia Ahone, Cameroon (Yaounde)

An Agropole Program that had been assigned to promote the production of agro-industrial products in Cameroon has been experiencing chronic underfunding for three consecutive years now. It was disclosed in an evaluation note recently published by the National Institute of Statistics, INS.

This program, official sources say, was implemented by the Ministry of Economy in 2016 to encourage advance agriculture methods in the country since the imports of agro-industrial products are restraining Cameroon’s trade balance. In other words, the program’s aim is to endorse modern farms for the production, processing and marketing of plants, animals and forest products.

However, INS noted in the evaluation that agropole, which has been facing financial difficulty for three years now did not achieve its expectations in the plants, animal and fisheries sectors in 2018. Stating that this was due to the current socio-economic conditions of the nation, INS further revealed that the prices of raw materials on the international market like cocoa and oil has drop, the insecurity situation in the Anglophone regions and the Far North region has decreased agricultural development in the country. “The program has not received a budget to support the agricultural revolution of the country for the past three years”, the Institute stated.

In a conclusive notification, INS stated that the present difficulties faced by agropole are caused by irregular program funding which stems from the fact that the programs area of budget is provided for the governments special interventions.

Therefore, the resources assigned for the program do not permit the set objectives to be realized. Other problems mentioned by the Institute involved the beneficiaries finding it difficult to contribute 60% value of the project and the absence of procurement commission in the program (implementation of social and community infrastructures). Noted also is the low collaboration rate among the concerned sectors which are the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, and low savings of promoters as they rarely have access to bank financing.

It should be noted that INS has recorded 46 agropoles in the country since the implementation of the agropoles program in 2016, which in plant include corn, soybean, palm oil and potatoe, and in animal we have fish, poultry and cattle.

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