Mbouh Denis is a young man in his early 40. He inherited a palm farm in Ekona near Buea from his late father close to a decade ago.
He employs between 10-15 seasonal workers including himself to run it. Though barely grappling with statistics about his production, Mbouh occupies himself very squarely with his 20 hectare palm farm from which he sells his palm oil at the nearby Ekona market. His daily activities on the farm include clearing, pruning, harvesting, milling and selling oil. At the peak of production, say about one hundred tins, he transports the oil to the market.
But during low periods he serves his customers at the Ekona-based mill. “My palm seedlings are from the Cameroon Development Corporation and some of my good trees bear as much as 15 cones a season”, he told this reporter. In 2010 Mbouh sold a tin of oil (20 litres) at CFA 15.000. “I was happy with my income”, he said. Since then, he regrets, the prices have been fluctuating and dwindling this far. “My palm farming brings me income that sustains my family and relatives who always come around because the farm belonged to our father.” he happily explained.
His major difficulties are mainly to maintain the level of clearing and pruning. But what he ignores is the current ideology of creating cooperatives as prone by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to maximize profit and secure assistance. Mbouh’s encouragement to young people to farm palms borders on what he says is the non perishable commodity of palm oil. As he explains, oil can be amassed for many years before selling without any risk of getting bad.
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