Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé)

13 January 2013

Cameroon: Five Million Plant Suckers to Be Cultivated in 2013

An agricultural revolution has been born to revalorie Cameroon's immense research potential, guarantee farm seeds quality and quantity, encourage large-scale agriculture and boost food production. By initiating, funding and signing, last January 12 in Ekona, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MINADER) on the one hand, and the Cameroon's Institute of Agricultural Research for Development (IRAD), Minister Essimi Menye has staged what many experts described as "A new page for farming progress in the country". To support the agreement, Minister Essimi Menye signed for the ministry, while the Director General of IRAD, Dr. Noe Woin signed for IRAD. This was in the presence of the Secretary General of the Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation.

The protocol warrants, in the first place, IRAD to quickly produce 5.000.000 quality and disease-free Vitro-Plants of plantains enough to cultivate 3,500 hectares of land this year. After this first phase to cost some FCFA 100 million, the venture will extend to tubers like yams, Irish potatoes, cassava, banana, cocoyam, taro and mushroom. The innovation in this sector would bring along many advantages to include easy transportation of seeds which are light enough to carry larger quantities and plant more hectares of land, assurance of availability and choice of plants for use.

Researchers of the bio-technological laboratory at the branch of IRAD in Ekona had distinguished themselves in the world of research by developing rapid plant propagation methods based on tissue culture techniques. Added to individual expertise, IRAD marshals 10 reference laboratories with the PJ Bio-technology Laboratory installed at their Ekona branch in the South West Region.

Minister Essimi Menye underscored agriculture as the pillar of Cameroon's economy since independence contributing 40 per cent of export income and 41 per cent of GDP for the 20 million Cameroonians. He explained that their partnership with IRAD was one way to set in the second-generation agriculture as conceived by the Head of State, President Paul Biya.

Expectations are high for other sectors and ministries to emulate MINADER's example to dust out research results from cupboards and make them available for use on the field. It would equally valorise skills in the domain of research, make investment in this area useful and channel them towards profitability.

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