Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé)

17 February 2013

Cameroon: AfDB Offers FCFA 314 Million for Seed Production

IRAD is to use the money to boost the production of maize, cassava, yam, Irish potato, cocoa, oil palm and fingerlings for sale to farmers.

African Development Bank, AfDB, has offered 640,000 US Dollars (about FCFA 314 million) to enable the Institute of Agricultural Research for Development, IRAD, produce seven basic crop seeds to help boost agricultural production and productivity, reduce the cost of the seeds and alleviate poverty.

The funding, with the support of one of AfDB's major shareholders, Nigeria, focuses on seven basic crops with high local demand - maize, cassava, yam, Irish potato, cocoa, oil palm and fingerlings. Speaking on Friday, February 15, 2013 at the IRAD national headquarters at Nkolbisson, Yaounde, AfDB's Executive for the Central Africa Group, Emmanuel Ngoy-tha, said his visit was to prepare the arrival of about 10 executive directors of the bank on March 10, 2013. They are to visit the bank's funded projects and explore ways of further cooperation with Cameroon in general and IRAD in particular.

Emmanuel Ngoy-tha recalled that AfDB had in 2004 funded part of the rehabilitation and equipment of IRAD's soil laboratory and computer centre. Racine Kane, AfDB Resident Representative for Cameroon, said AfDB's current support to IRAD was to enable it produce basic crop seeds, train staff and explore ways of becoming a sub-regional centre of excellence. Kane noted that Central Africa was Africa's least integrated sub-region, thus, the role of IRAD in extending its services to other countries.

Briefing the guests, Dr Francis Ngome, head of IRAD Control Unit, said their soil laboratory had since been accredited as one of the best in Sub-Saharan Africa. He also spoke of research collaboration with Nigeria in basic seed production, given that the two countries' ecological zones were same. Earlier, the delegation was shown round the rehabilitated soil laboratory and the food crop section by IRAD Board Chair, Rene Ze Nguele, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation, Rebecca Ebele Etame and IRAD's Deputy General Manager, Dr Mouen Bedimo.

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