The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development signed an agreement with the research institute on Friday.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, MINADER, has discovered that palm oil production in Cameroon is handicapped by the unavailability of quality palm nut seeds so much so that farmers collect seeds from everywhere and when planted are unable to produce the required quantity needed for domestic and industrial use. This pushed the Ministry’s Seed Fund to negotiate with the Institute of Agricultural Research for Development, IRAD, for the rehabilitation of its infrastructure, re-equipping of its laboratories to increase capacity of palm oil seed production which stands today at less than two million seeds per year.
This was the framework of an agreement signed between government and IRAD on Friday, January 16, 2015 in Yaounde. MINADER boss, Essimi Menye signed for government while Woin Noeacute, GM of IRAD signed for his institution. Within the agreement framework, MINADER will disburse FCFA 495 million to help IRAD revamp its structures and produce palm oil seeds that will be put at the disposal of MINADER beginning this year. Essimi Menye was frank when he said “We do not have enough oil palm.” And that is why “we have decided to establish a strategy to increase its production.” But to do that, “we need to create new partnerships and starting this year, we intend to develop at least 10, 000 hectares of plantation.” He explained that by 2020 government will limit the importation of oil palm and also create more jobs and added value for the economy. He said the gap was about 100, 000 metric tons and the population was growing exponentially with consumption growing, leading to high demand. “We need to produce more,” the Minister insisted.
The General Manager of IRAD, Woin Noeacute reaffirmed their determination to provide government with six million palm nut seedlings for a period of three year (two million each a year). The seeds have a capacity to produce three tons of oil per hectare at its third year.
Government will move the national production capacity to five million seeds a year when the programme goes functional. It will allow MINADER to get farmers plant 10, 000 hectares of palm farms and plantations every year. The country produces about 260, 000 metric tons of oil every year that falls short of local demand by 100, 000 metric tons. The Administrator of the Seed Fund in the ministry, Nuza Syxtus Thomas, reiterated that their responsibility was to encourage and put in place a vibrant seed sector in Cameroon, stressing that “We have decided to take care of the structural constraints that prevent farmers from having seeds. The ministry of agriculture on instructions of the Head of State has chosen some crops that have a long value added chain.” He explained that it was because the farmer will not stop just at the farm gate but will be able to produce and benefit from the value added on such crops.
Source : Cameroon Tribune