“Atim, you know every journey tells a story”. Does it? Well he was saying that from a tourist point of view but am not a tourist just a Cameroonian visiting a region of the country she has never been to; the Southern Region. The South has great touristic sites, I will agree but I was more interested in the agricultural site and while he enjoyed the touristic view, I enjoyed nature, the agricultural activities of the people of this region.
The South Region is located in the South Western and South Central portion of the Republic of Cameroon. It is bordered to the south by the countries Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Congo with its main commerce consisting of logging, timber, mining and offshore oil drilling. Commercial agriculture is practiced in the South with the greater majority of the population being subsistence farmers. The major crops are plantain, cassava(manioc), cocoyams, palms and maize with other crops being grown in modest quantity.
For most part of Cameroon, market availability and accessible farm roads are major setback but for a region so heavily forested, the South has a fairly developed transportation network. However, most of the food cultivated is abandoned in the farms.
I can only presume for such a case, the problem will be availability of ready markets. With 2/3 of the northern part of Cameroon being at risk of hunger do you really think the absence of ready market is the problem? I don’t think so. It is at this point that I totally agree every journey tells a story.
The absence of a food distribution network is the problem. Period. My story is this; the consumer population is too small for the amount of food cultivated by the farmers in this region and so most of what is cultivated is abandoned in the farms for lack of market.
The presence of a well thought out food distribution network remains a major setback in Cameroon’s agricultural sector which if addressed will go a long way to solve the problem of food availability and food wastage. Food cultivated in this region can be transported to regions where there is little access to food such as the Northern part of Cameroon or to areas where it is least cultivated.
And “Yes my friend, every journey tells a story” and mine is told.