A drop in the production of any agricultural product is never good news for producers irrespective of the reasons behind it. The banana sector which constitutes one of the main export products in Cameroon is undergoing serious threat from a number of factors most of which have their root in climate change.
This state of affairs has put the three main producing agro-industries: Plantations du Haut Penja [PHP], the Cameroon Development Corporation [CDC] and the Boh Plantation Limited [BPL] at crossroads. The vivid memories where increased production in 2015 catapulted Cameroon to first position in the Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific region are fast gone.
According to the Cameroon Banana Association (ASSOBACAM), annual production of the product rose to 278,450 tons in 2015, enabling Cameroon to move ahead of Côte d'Ivoire. But this was short lived as the latter took back its position.
The reasons advanced for the ill luck recorded in banana plantations in the 2017 season are for the most part linked to climate. While authorities of CDC blamed the situation specifically on tornados produced in the course of heavy rains, PHP says the rains exceeded their seasonal limits causing serious nefarious effects on banana plants.
In the same vein, producers equally complain of serious attacks from wild mushroom parasite that led to massive destruction of plants.
At the Cameroon Development Corporation, production is said to drop by 19,000 metric tons while at the Plantations du Haut Penja, about 300 to 400 hectares of plantation were destroyed by tornados that came in waves. Authorities of the three companies are licking their wounds and pondering on what strategy to take in order to redress the situation.
The repercussions have often been quick disastrous on crops especially when it concerns change in climate or attacks that are natural. The reason is simply that Agriculture in Cameroon largely depend on natural phenomenon.
The country is into seasonal production reason why alterations in rain or sunshine most of the time result into considerable damage. The destruction caused this season on banana production is a challenge for producers to reflect and undertake research on how to counteract the reoccurrence of such a situation and above all how to manage the consequences therein.
Maybe, it will be necessary to come up with banana plants that can resist strong winds and produce fungicides that can fight fungal attacks and prevent mushroom growth.