On the 25th and 26th of September, the Delegation of Agriculture and Rural Development Douala in collaboration with the World Bank Cameroon, organized a two days workshop which brought together prominent agribusiness, banks, large scale consumers of agric produce, large and small scale farmers of cassava and maize from the Littoral, West and South West Regions. The 2 days workshop was a continuation of an ongoing preparatory process which started on the 23rd of March 2013 for the launch of the PIDMA (Projet d’Investissement et de Développement des Marchés Agricoles au Cameroun) project.
In an attempt to completely eradicate extreme poverty by 2030, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MINADER) together with the World Bank designed the PIDMA project which is tailored to respond specifically to the demand of the market by increasing supply and add value to products of Cassava, Maize and Sorghum.
Over the years, large scale agricultural product consumers such as GUINNESS Cameroon SA(GCSA), Nestle and CICAM have expressed their interest in sourcing Local Raw Material (LRM) for their production. Currently GCSA imports 80% of the raw material used in its production. However, GCSA hopes to move from the 0% to 50% of raw material locally sourced by 2015. It is for such reasons that the PIDMA project was designed; to identify producers of cassava and maize , bring them under a common umbrella and set up a system that links producers and consumers directly and aiding the producers with the right crop variety, standard and increase their yield to meet the demands and satisfy the currently identified market.
Of all the projects designed by MINADER to facilitate access to market and ensure food security, this seems to be the most viable because it covers the entire food chain; from provision of farm inputs to processing/transforming and marketing. Most often than not, the quality of products produce by the small scale farmers never matches the market standard of large buyers the reason why most is wasted or bought at very low prices. Ensuring that farmers use the right inputs of good quality will add value to their produce hence attracting better prices.
The project is will commence in 2014 and if properly carried out it is expected to impact the lives of many small scale farmers.