Banana Sector: Prime Minister Gives Revamp Directives

Prime Minister, Head of Government Joseph Dion Ngute on September 29, 2021 chaired a meeting dedicated to seeking ways to revamp the sector.

Government has set out to revamp the banana sector which is one of the key pillars of Cameroon’s economic and social wellbeing of citizens. Government, according to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MINADER), Gabriel Mbairobe seeks to attain annual production of 500,000 tonnes of banana by 2030. Production reached about 300,000 tonnes in 2016 before the ongoing security crisis in the North West and South West Regions.

The public authoritie’s yearning desire is under the high instructions of the Head of State, President Paul Biya and under the coordination of Prime Minister, Head of Government, Joseph Dion Ngute. It was in line with making concrete the desire that Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute convened a meeting at the Auditorium of the Prime Minister’s Office on September 29, 2021 that brought together competent cabinet ministers, managers of main banana producing companies and other stakeholders with the objective to brainstorm on ways of revamping the sector. The Head of Government reportedly during the in-camera meeting invited all the actors in the banana sector to put all hands on deck in order to find a viable economic climate for Cameroon’s banana.

What remains for implementation is the Prime Minister’s directives. The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MINADER), Gabriel Mbairobe told the press after the meeting that Prime Minister prescribed measures his ministry has to implement. One of the measures has to do with empowering UTV in charge of treating banana plantations and also to find ways to rehabilitate the banana plantations. Prime Minister Dion Ngute specifically instructed MINADER to look for new pesticides and new aircraft to treat new banana plantations. For this to be done, another aircraft needs to be acquired to add to the present one in order to boost the UTV capacity. Minister Gabriel Mbairobe also cited the Prime Minister as instructing the Minister of Finance and the Customs Department to work in the area of taxes in order to boost the sector.

One of the four banana producing companies that caught much attention is the Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC). Agriculture Minister said that in 2016 prior to the socio-political crisis, CDC alone contributed 113,000 tonnes to the national production. The CDC General Manager, Franklin Ngoni Njie disclosed that with the crisis, between August 2018 to June 2020, the company produced no banana. The CDC has got back to production with 6,000 tonnes this year. CDC from every indication Franklin Ngoni Njie said has hopes. This is because, “The owner of the CDC, the government has taken a strong stand that CDC will continue to exist, operate and specifically will continue to be an operator in the banana sector for very important reasons,” he said. He disclosed that, “the interruption in the CDC activities has led to a situation where about 5,000 CDC workers are on technical leave and its absence in the banana sector means to the State a drop in foreign exchange earnings of about FCFA 35 billion a year.”

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