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General News of Friday, 7 March 2014

Source: Cameroon Tribune

Joint Efforts to Supply Raw Materials for Sangmelima Cassava Plant

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The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Essimi Menye, has begun consultations with stakeholders of the Sangmelima Cassava Processing Plant on ways through which cassava (raw material for starch) could be sustainably produced for the plant that needs 120 tons daily to function optimally. The plant that is reportedly about 85 per cent complete has a serious problem of raw materials to produce starch for industrial consumption.

Speaking in a reflection meeting in Yaounde yesterday March 6, Minister Essimi Menye regretted that a project of that nature could be mounted without consideration on where raw material would come. Meanwhile, having cassava means planting and waiting for at least nine months. The Minister said after discussions with industries that need starch, they came to a conclusion that four cassava varieties need to be vulgarized. There will therefore be need to create seed multiplication farms for these varieties. "To cultivate ten hectares of cassava, there is need for one hectare of cassava cuttings. The cassava cuttings we have already for this year can go on 1,350 hectares in all the cassava processing basins of the county," the Minister said.

It emerged from yesterday's meeting that the ministry is in the process of putting in place a team to first carry out an inventory of the space on which cassava cuttings could be multiplied, an inventory of production basins and list of potential farmers who could organize themselves into cooperatives to produce and channel the produce to the processing plant. "It needs better organization and we hope the team to be put in place will work in synergy with the Sangmelima council. Cassava is the cocoa of tomorrow, let's work together to set a solid base for an industrial cassava production and processing in Cameroon," Minister Essimi Menye said. He disclosed that there will be the establishment of cassava cutting plantations that will be disseminated in April 2015 so that by 2016, a good harvest could be attained to keep the plant an optimum.

Focus of the plant will be the production of starch which is said to be selling like hot cake in the national and international markets. Jointly funded by the Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Crafts of Cameroon and the Sangmelima council to the tune of FCFA 1.2 billion, the project seeks to boost the industrialisation process undertaken by public authorities in Cameroon.

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