Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé)

Cameroon: Government Works On Food, Cash Crop Production

press release

"The Prime Minister, Head of Government, Mr Philemon YANG, on Wednesday, 26 February 2014 as from 11:00 a.m. chaired an important Cabinet Meeting in the Prime Minister's Office. In attendance were the Vice Prime Minister, Ministers of State, Ministers, Ministers-Delegate and Secretaries of State.

Two items featured on the agenda, namely:

1. A statement by the Minister of Transport on: "the current situation and development

prospects of national port infrastructure";

2. A statement by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development on "planned support

measures for a successful 2014 farming season".

The Minister of transport began by recalling that Cameroon has four ports: Douala, Limbe, Kribi and Garoua. Although the level of activity in these ports varies considerably, all of them are prime assets for economic exchange since they enhance the competitiveness of Cameroonian products on international markets and reduce the cost of imported goods.

An important port reform was introduced in 1998 and a national port master plan was designed in 2009. It serves as a compass to this sector whose pillar remains the Douala port platform which handles 95% of trade and generates 98% of turnover. In 2013, this sub-regional port handled a record 10 million tons in trade terms.

The Limbe Port - placed temporarily under the Douala Port Authority with its Cape Limboh Terminal and Tiko platform - mainly handles local inshore navigation and passenger transport to neighbouring countries. It also has an oil terminal and shipyard.

Despite its mainly informal traffic, the Limbe Port made a turnover of about CFAF 800

million in 2013. The Kribi Port handles, on its old site, inshore navigation small-scale fishing and boating activities. The new site comprises a general-purpose industrial and commercial

port, at Mboro, an ore tanker wharf and gas terminal in Lolabe.

The Garoua River port, which contributed to trade with Nigeria, was handed over to the Garoua City Council in 2004 and has almost been abandoned due to silting. Port activity, which increased by 31% in 2013, faces a number of challenges including dilapidated infrastructure for the Garoua port, saturation and irregular dredging for the Douala port, the organization of regular line boating or lack of effective automation for the Limbe and Kribi Ports.

The Minister revealed that prospects in the port sector are very bright, especially with the recent resumption of dredging in the Douala port, the imminent start-up of the Kribi port and implementation of the Isongo multi-purpose dock project at the Limbe port. These infrastructures are expected to be mutually complementary so as to face competition from other ports in the sub-region.

After the ensuing discussions, the Head of Government asked the Minister of Transport to work to increase storage capacity at the Douala Port terminals, liaise with the competent Government departments to operationalize the "Dry Port" Project in order to decongest the Douala port platform. He also enjoined him, to liaise with the Ministers of Education and Vocational Training, to strengthen and diversify training opportunities in the port professions.

Next, the floor was given to the Minister of Agriculture who presented measures taken to ensure the success of the 2014 farming season. He revealed that one of the ambitions of his Ministry was to reduce the deficit in agricultural trade balance by encouraging massive food production.

In 2014, his ministry plans to supervise and support rural stakeholders in the production, processing and marketing phases. To that end, emphasis will be laid on the availability of sufficient quantities of quality seeds and plants. They also plan to increase and distribute plant material for cocoa farming, create seed farms and maintain existing ones. In parallel, support will be given to private nursery owners for Arabica and Robusta coffee production, and palm-oil plants, including pre-germinated imported ones, distributed. The same will be done for maize, cassava, plantains, potatoes, eru and rice.

With regard to pest control in cocoa/coffee farms, training sessions will be conducted for 120 village intervention squads, producers, members of surveillance network and leaders of farmers' organisations. Support to fertilization will be through the acquisition of 12,025 tons of mineral fertilizer and 525 tons of organic manure.

Moreover, the public authorities shall pursue actions complementary to direct support, by promoting cooperatives, constructing 20km of feeder roads and maintaining 200 other kilometres, operationalizing seed farms and equipment pools, training over 2,000 youths in schools and technical training centres, and settling 1,150 young farmers in new plantations.

At the end of this statement, the Prime Minister instructed the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development to complete the study to map out arable lands and to submit to his office, as soon as possible, production objectives for the main food and cash crops for the 2014 season.

The Cabinet Meeting was adjourned at 1:00 p.m."

Yaounde, 26 February 2014

Louis Paul MOTAZE

Secretary-General of the

Prime Minister's Office

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