14 December 2017

Cameroon-Japan Cooperation - Youpwe Fish Market to Be Renovated

A funding agreement worth some FCFA 7 billion for that purpose was reached in Douala December 12.

The governments of Cameroon and Japan have once again concretised cooperation with the signing of an agreement for the funding of an improvement project in Douala.

According to the arrangement, Japan will disburse close to FCFA 7 billion for the funding of the improving of the landing stage and fish market in the Youpwe neighbourhood.

To reach out on the agreement was the Minister of Economy, Planning and Regional Development, Louis Paul Motaze, on behalf of the government of Cameroon and the Japanese Ambassador, Kunio Okamura, for his country.

The ceremony took place at the City Council Hall in Bonanjo in the presence of the Minister of Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Industries, Dr. Taiga, and the representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) before a site tour of the landing stage and fish market.

Work at the landing stage - shore for the unloading of fish and fishery products - involves enlarging the space for more fishing boats to anchor shores of the Youpwe creek.

For the Fish Market, a modern structure equipped with quality facilities will be set up for traders to hire and sell from. Retailers, mostly made up of women, line up on both sides of the street that leads to the landing stage and forms the fish market.

Coated with interlocking tiles, the street is often overcrowded by passengers with heavy baggage and business people trooping in on wooden boats from remote island localities in the Douala VI and Mouanko Subdivisions to buy goods in Douala for retail in their different localities.

Many of them commute Douala and island localities of Manoka, Cap Cameroon, Toulbe, Sio Sio, Yoyo, Kombo Moukoko, Mbiako on locally made wooden boats adapted to an engine of 25 or 40 horse power.

The over 10 boats that pick up or drop passengers in Youpwe daily compete for anchor space with the ever increasing fishing boats that use the same landing stage.

Challenges of the sector, to workers there, are as many as the journey itself is tedious. Charlie Mandengue, one of the pilots, raised the concern that the sector is greatly affected by a lack of good boats, insufficient engines and lifejackets.

"We face many challenges as we try to transport people through many creeks and then the Atlantic Ocean; we need subsidies from our government to help us offer better and secure services to all who are travelling on water," the pilot told CT.

Overloading coupled with the difficult tidal waves and stormy weathers sailing across long distances on creeks and the Atlantic ocean (often between one and four hours) makes the project an important starting point.

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