The Cameroon Business Cartel, GICAM, held its first 2012 sectoral meeting on agriculture in Bonanjo April 25.
Problems facing agriculture in the country came under scanner in Douala. A number of issues, including government policy and non-inclusion of the private sector contributions, diagnosed during the meeting were imputed to the slowing down of productivity, according to agriculture experts and members of the Cameroon Business Cartel (GICAM).
The meeting which holds after every three months saw participants exchanging in view of galvanising informed ideas to improve actions taken, or actions to be taken, in the national walk towards an emergent Cameroon by 2015. Another purpose was to encourage the growth of the agricultural sector, Cameroon's economic backbone, in order to attain a double digit growth through investments by 2020.
Problems identified as affecting agriculture in the country include, access to land and farm inputs (seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and other materials); water management and irrigation; mechanisation; public and private finance; rendering production zones accessible; soil fertility; amount of rainfall; domestic transformation; access to market; promotion of agricultural entrepreneurship; policy governing agricultural; government measures like tax and customs duty; strengthening the capacities of actors on management, good practices and governance, among others. The experts, however, concentrated on access to land and quality inputs as the main issues handled. Despite the enormous existing agricultural potential, the absence of a structured dialogue and regular follow-up between government and investors account for the insufficient production, for example, in the area of rice and maize.
Some of the recommendations made include the channelling of more finance to improve agricultural production, encouraging better regulations, creating access to production zones, revisiting tax and customs measures to improve productivity, train companies based on exportation as well as the respect of norms. Private sectors are expected to adopt a sectoral guide for the follow up of quality norms and defence of local brand; ethical code and social responsibility of companies in order to contribute to good governance; hold consultations on standardisation of company agreements within the sector, among others, according to Henri Fosso, who doubles as the Chief Executive Officer of FIMEX International and Executive Board member of GICAM.
In effect, the meeting was opportunity to listen and exchange views in order to propose to the Executive organ of GICAM suggestions on collective and individual actions to be taken to bolster agricultural production in the country.