26 July 2012

Cameroon: PM Gives Prescriptions on Second-Generation Agriculture

The Prime Minister, Head of Government, Mr. Philemon YANG, today, (yesterday) Thursday, 26 July 2012 as from 11:00 a.m. in the main building of the Prime Minister's Office, chaired a Cabinet Meeting attended by the Vice-Prime Minister, Ministers of State, Ministers, Ministers-Delegate and Secretaries of State.

Two items featured on the agenda:

A joint statement by Ministers in charge of secondary and basic education on "the assessment of the 2011-2012 academic year", presented by the Minister for Secondary Education;

a statement by the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development on "the rural sector stakes and challenges as outlined in the Growth and Employment Strategy Paper (GESP)";

The Minister for Secondary Education indicated that the assessment of the 2011/2012 academic year was largely positive. Government and private schools nationwide recorded total enrolment of about 1,800,000 students for secondary schools and 3,916,435 pupils for primary and nursery schools.

The satisfactory results obtained stem from the tight measures taken by both ministries at the level of general administration and internal governance. For instance, the previous year's official textbook lists were maintained and staff transfer instruments were published in August.

Efforts to constantly improve the school map were seen in the creation or transformation of 349 Government secondary and technical schools, 345 Government nursery schools, 415 primary schools and the effective opening of 307 new Government secondary and technical schools.

The implementation of the infrastructure strategy allowed for the construction of 740 classrooms in Government secondary and high schools, 693 classrooms in Government primary and nursery schools, 5 multimedia resource centres, 40 workshops, 30 nursery blocs and 10 fences. Added to that, contracts were awarded for the procurement of 670 desks for secondary and high schools, 22,220 desks for Government primary schools, 1,400 small tables, 4,400 small chairs and 180 blackboards with easels for nursery schools and 683 teachers' tables.

For their part, education policy activities were geared towards enhancing the quality and relevance of teaching, ensuring the good coverage of school curricula and guaranteeing the successful organization of official examinations. All these were effective and led to a hitch-free conduct of the 2012 official examination session, barring the BEPC examination re-sit in Mora after a fire burned already marked scripts.

The success rate of the first examinations proclaimed are as follows - CEP: 78.54% against 77.82% in 2011; First School Leaving Certificate: 84.17% against 85.50% in 2011; Common Entrance: 78.51% against 88.37% in 2011; Concours d'Entrée en 6ème: 60.13% against 56.46% in 2011; Concours d'Entrée en 1ère Année CET : 55.30% against 65.55% in 2011; BEPC: 50.30% against 46.73% in 2011; Commercial CAP: 28.10% against 27.35% in 2011; Industrial CAP: 40.05% against 44.10% in 2011; Baccalauréat de l'enseignement général : 53.30% against 39.57% in 2011 and Baccalauréat G : 45.44% against 51.90% in 2011.

After noting this report, the Head of Government asked the Ministers for Secondary and Basic Education to strictly control all charges payable in Government schools ahead of the 2012-2013 school year and to systematically punish principals and head-teachers who violate the principle of free primary education or impose additional levies on parents.

The Cabinet Meeting continued with the statement of the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development who revealed that, as per the Growth and Employment Strategy Paper (GESP), the rural sector is the main driver of the national economy. The priority objective sought is to ensure the food self-sufficiency of households and the entire nation in a bid to usher in an eco-friendly sustainable development. This will require the implementation of modernization and extension actions for foodstuff and industrial-scale agriculture and exports as well as for livestock, forest farming and forestry exploitation.

For that, Cameroon has significant assets and varied potentials such as arable land, its agro-ecological diversity and abundant rainfall. Their development is at the heart of second-generation agriculture, the foundations of which were laid by the President of the Republic during the Ebolowa Agro-pastoral Show in January 2011.

However, to get there, numerous constraints must be surmounted, especially the inaccessibility of production areas, insufficient financing, poor mechanization and limited rate of agricultural supervision given to farmers.

The Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development pointed out that in line with Presidential prescriptions, "Major Accomplishments" will be concretized mainly through implementing a fertilizer production programme commensurate to the needs of our agriculture, operationalizing the agricultural machines assembly plant, rehabilitating seed farms, preparing land reform to match the requirements of second-generation agriculture, reforming agricultural training and education and strengthening the rural financing mechanism.

The sector's production objectives by 2020 for the main crops are ambitious: 750,000 tons of rice; 4 million tons of maize and 600,000 tons of cocoa.

Efforts will be made to improve the quality of coffee production, extend plantain and banana plantations and develop the cultivation of non-ligneous forest products which are abundant in Cameroon.

For the animal production value chains, priority is given to promoting short-cycle non-conventional stockbreeding, facilitating and promoting the creation of medium and large cattle-rearing farms, developing milk production, aviculture and fishery production.

The Minister recalled that apart from these production-related actions, rural areas need to be rendered attractive through a more proactive infrastructure policy to prevent the rural exodus of the youth.

After the ensuing discussions, the Prime Minister issued operational instructions to all Ministers concerned by rural development to better synergize their actions.

Further, he asked the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, in conjunction with the ministries concerned, to update the Rural Sector Strategy so as to take into account the guidelines laid down by the President of the Republic during the Ebolowa Agro-pastoral Show.

The Cabinet Meeting was adjourned at 1:25 p.m., after consideration of sundry issues related to Government activity

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