The 2013-2022 vision discussed on Friday October 25seeks to boost productivity in the sub-region.
The African Centre for Research on Banana and Plantains (CARBAP) has unveiled a ten-year operational plan that would help the continent to move from the current seven metric tons of banana production to about 40 metric tons per hectare and improve its current 11 million metric tons annual output of the food crop. The 70-page strategic plan was adopted in Yaounde on Friday October 25 during a forum with partners of CARBAP chaired by Scientific Research and Innovation Minister, Madeleine Tchuinte, Board Chair of CARBAP.
The plan highlights actions to be carried out by member countries of CARBAP to surmount challenges in banana production which include ageing farms and farmers, ill-adapted banana suckers as well as disease attacks. Scientific research, the plan holds, need to be stepped up as well as the investment packages different governments allocate to the rural world. It was disclosed during the forum that CARBAP has developed some 150 banana varieties with some bunches weighing as much as 45 kg. This will be the base of scientific research and speakers harped on the need to move away from the hitherto archaic banana producing methods which at best yielded four to eight metric tons per hectare.
In a speech, Minister Madeleine Tchuinte said the objective of the plan is to better orientate research centres within the sub-region. Banana, she noted, is a purveyor of sustainable economic development not only because of its place in ensuring food security and safety but also because of its contribution to exports. The Minister prayed funding partners of CARBAP, some of whom were present or representated in the forum to develop a sustainable funding strategies for the next ten years so as to bring to fruition the ambitious operational plan.
Talking to the press, CARBAP's Director, Jean Daniel Ngou Ngoupayou, said the operational plan is fruit of participatory work between stakeholders of 14 member countries of CARBAP and target is to come up with adaptable research whose results would right perceptible wrongs of the banana sector. The plan, he said, is also to work towards a sustainable and environment-friendly agriculture which uses less of chemical products that have adverse effects on man and his environment. The plan has also put in place processing mechanisms to avert post-harvest losses. "Our strategies are to conserve and process banana to meet the demand and health needs of the population," the CARBAP boss said.