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General News of Monday, 4 July 2016

Source: cameroon-tribune.cm

Food insufficiency: Gov’t strategises on solutions

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An inter-ministerial get-together held in Yaounde on July 1, 2016, with focus on developing a national strategy on high consumer foodstuff.

Cameroon in 2013 spent over FCFA 1,458 billion on basic foodstuff. The figure represented 20.86 per cent of the country's imports. Meanwhile, foodstuff exports stand at FCFA 1,378 billion, with a deficit in Balance of Trade of over FCFA 80 billion.

The situation is worrying with government officials stating that it was time to correct errors of the past and right wrongs that sparked the 2008 food riots sequel to price hikes.

An inter-ministerial meeting held in Yaounde on July 1, 2016, to optimize the production of basic foodstuff.

Scaling up the production of maize, sorghum, rice, cassava, banana, plantain, Irish Potato, palm oil, tomatos, groundnuts and beans to acceptable quantities by 2020 was the focus of discussions.

Efforts are geared at stepping up maize production to 4 million tonnes by 2020 as against 2 million in 2015, sorghum to 1.9 million tonnes up from 1.2 million tonnes, cassava to 8 million tonnes up from 4.5 million tonnes and plantain to 7 million tonnes in 2020 as against 3 million in 2015, amongst others.

The deficit is large with Agriculture and Rural Development Minister, Henri Eyebe Ayissi, insisting that the gathering was imperative for Cameroon to meet food self-sufficiency.

The stakes are high, given that the interim Economic Partnership with the European Union is expected to swing into action next month, besides the opening up of trade routes to neighbouring Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic, Chad, Nigeria... , hence the demand for more foodstuff from the country.

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