(Business in Cameroon) - Yesterday June 1, Corrie MacColl, the parent company of d’Hévéa Cameroon (Hevecam), announced the launch of its outgrower program aimed at training 13,000 small farmers in Cameroon to ensure their self-empowerment.
The program consists of developing 27,000 hectares using the multi-cropping farming system, but the main crop will be 100% traceable rubber. The investment in this 15-year program is $28 million (about XAF15 billion) and according to Corrie MacColl, the program will help ensure food security in rural communities and boost farmers’ revenues by increasing the yields of degraded or low-yielding croplands.
The cash crops planted during the program will generate $139 million (XAF74.59 billion) of farm income for the subsistence and operating resources farmers will need until the rubber trees planted start generating $38 million (XAF20.39 billion) of additional yearly income.
“There are 500 million smallholder farmers globally of which 6 million produce rubber. Developing these livelihoods holds the key to addressing some of the world’s most pressing social and environmental issues, and we can do this through education, support, and providing the financing to access quality planting materials. This way, we increase yields on existing land, removing the need to deforest while providing necessary added food and income security. We will start with 13,000 families and with sufficient scale, we hope our successful model is replicated across all smallholder-based agricultural industries,” commented Ryan Wiener, Global Head of Sustainable Development and Strategic Marketing for Corrie MacColl
“We are proud to have entered into a program of this scale where we have the opportunity to support rural Cameroonians in their aspirations to become business owners. Upon success in Cameroon, the same model can be rolled out across the wider Halcyon ecosystem of companies [Corrie MacColl’s head office],” said Lee Chestnutt, CEO of Corrie MacColl Plantations.
This investment is a good omen for the Cameroonian rubber industry that experienced some problems in 2020. That year, Hevecam laid off many of its staff because notably of the coronavirus pandemic: 1,000 out of 5,945 staff were fired for economic reasons. Most of the staff laid off were farmworkers, the support staff, and the administrative workforce (like translators).