For Better Profitability!

The decision taken recently by the World Bank to boost Cameroon’s efforts in accelerating digital transformation and smart agriculture in the country may still sound strange in the ears of some citizens but what is projected; if well carried out, could fetch fortunes for the population and government. In effect, the 100 million US dollar loan (about FCFA 56 billion) accorded the country on September 28, 2021 through the World Bank’s tentacle, the International Development Association, seeks to give a push to government’s efforts in promoting digital inclusion and the use of digital solutions in the agriculture sector. 
Simply put, target is improving the availability and affordability of broadband internet, connecting public buildings, fostering digital entrepreneurship and providing support to smallholder farmers and producer organisations to promote the adoption of innovations developed by agritech start-ups. It is said that the government’s project which has attracted the World Bank’s funding; “Acceleration of the Digital Transformation of Cameroon,” has the high propensity to support increased productivity, job creation within the digital and agricultural sectors with spillover effects on other productive sectors of the economy. 
As good as the theory sounds, stakeholders must get down to work, settle on workable benchmarks and strive for success. Agriculture has proven over the years to be the bedrock of any idealistic economy. In Cameroon at moment, it is the driver for growth looking at the number of people it employs and what the sector puts on the market for local and sub-regional consumption. The greatest worry however remains the quality and quantity of production and the difficulty in journeying out of subsistence. A great challenge worth surmounting!
Fortunately, the World Bank-funded “Acceleration of the Digital Transformation of Cameroon” project, makes provision for policy formulation and the implementation of data-driven solutions in the agricultural sector. The bottom line here is for agriculture to be modernised. This entails a whole gamut of interwoven policies and actions. It is difficult to modernise agriculture when the same policies that promoted subsistence and export of raw materials are still being embraced even by public authorities. Issues of accessing arable land, modern farm tools and inputs, disease-resistant seeds and seedlings, farm-to-market roads, local processing of agricultural produce and post-harvest sales must be tackled head-on.  Continually supporting farmers with spades, hoes and wheelbarrows, leaving untouched the land policy which allows the rich to buy hectares all over and abandon them to fallow while the villages work the same small parcel over and over cause youngsters to chicken out. Farms and farmers need to be rejuvenated and innovations incorporated to enhance yield. 
After charming the World Bank with the policy document which accompanied the government’s loan request, better implementation is now imperative to boost the profitability of the actors and the economy of the country. The terrain is propitious for this if objectivity is embraced. Better productivity would facilitate the loan refund when the moment comes.



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