(Business in Cameroon) - The national institute for statistics (INS) recently published a report assessing the Programme agropoles (PAG). This programme was implemented since 2016 by the ministry of economy to promote the production of agro-industrial products whose importations have been affecting Cameroon’s trade balance. It promotes second-generation agriculture (modern farms), processing and commercialization of vegetable, animal, forest and fish products.
In its note, the INS reveals that “in 2018, Programme agropoles, which has been struggling financially for three years now, performed worse than expected.” According to the INS, in 2018, the PAG did not meet any of the expectations in all of the sectors covered because of the challenging socio-economic environment
“The drop in the prices of raw materials (cocoa, oil…) on the international market and the security situation in the Northwest and Southwest as well as in the Far-northern regions, affected by Boko Haram’s attacks, did not let the national production system live up to expectations. For three years, the programme has not received a budget that could help it support agricultural revolution,” the institute indicates.
The INS notes that difficulties met in the implementation of the programme are mainly related to the irregularity of the fundings provided because these fundings are set as special funds. The resources thus allocated do not help meet the targets.
The other challenges are beneficiaries’ inability to provide 60% of the resources required by their projects (as specified). There is also the absence of a procurement commission, compromising the realization of social and community infrastructures, difficult collaboration with sectoral administrations, low-level promoters’ savings and difficulties in accessing bank funding.
Apart from these challenges, there is also energy cost and quality that does not allow the development of the processing segment.
According to the INS, 46 agropoles have been established, in vegetal and animal production, all over the country since the introduction of the PAG in 2016.