The Farmer Competiveness Enhancement Project, PACA, will in 2013 offer FCFA Two billion in financial support and technical backstopping to about 257 farmer groups in the Centre and South Regions. Among this number, 100 will be new groups while the remaining 157 are already receiving support from the agricultural project.
The announcement was made on Tuesday, December, 18, 2012 in Yaounde at the Mvog Betsi Zoological Garden by PACA Project Coordinator for Centre and South Regions, Nkoum Ntyam Georges Armand. He was speaking at a meeting organised for maize production stakeholders to enable farmers secure farm input supply and produce marketing outlets. Some 40 maize farmer representatives from the main production areas of Mbam and Inoubou, Mbam and Kim and the Upper Sanaga Divisions of the Centre Region, held discussions with suppliers of farm inputs such as fertilizer, seed, pesticides, herbicides, feed and marketers of farm produce and products.
Farmers were expected at the end of the discussions to sign partnerships with farm input suppliers as well as being able to sell their produce to reliable marketers or consumers. Similar stakeholders' discussions will be organised throughout 2013; beginning with banana and plantain farmers while the turn of pig and poultry producers will come later in the year. This is especially important, Mr. Nkoum said, as pig farmers cannot source and get good species piglets within a short time. Moreover, piglet producers are sometimes unable to secure reliable markets for their animals - thus the need for preparations to be made in advance. Discussions between stakeholders of particular farming activities help ensure that each person gets the most out of what they are doing, the PACA Regional Coordinator explained.
He said the project had over the years helped to increase farmers' production and productivity, thereby raising their level of competiveness. Some assisted groups that now produce 100 metric tonnes of maize a year probably started off with five tonnes, he pointed out. This is largely attributable to PACA's vision of boosting farmers' productivity through the high level of project funding and technical backstopping offered. PACA is a government-initiated and World Bank-supported agricultural competiveness project that focuses on banana, plantain, maize, pig and poultry production.