(Business in Cameroon) - Cameroon exports 70% of its rice production to Nigeria, according to a study on the strategic position of the cereal processing and by-products sector recently published by the Enterprises Upgrading Office BMN.
In its study, the BMN reports that the situation is due to logistics problems and the poor quality of the rice produced locally (high volume of dirty and broken grains namely). Indeed, because of high transport costs, it is usually profitable for local producers to sell their rice in local markets, This realization even prompted the suspension of the promotional rice sales usually organized by the Ministry of Commerce in the Southern regions. For officials of SEMRY, the government's main partner in the framework of that project, it had become financially unsustainable to transport rice from Yagoua to Yaoundé and supply the market at the promotional prices suggested by the government.
Another reason provided by the BMN to explain the high volume of local production exported to Nigeria is the proximity of rice-producing regions to Nigerian borders. For instance, the North and the Far-North, which account for 84% of Cameroon’s rice production fields (44% of those fields are located in the Far North where SEMRY operates), share an extensive border with the West African country.
So, despite the multifaceted support they receive from SEMRY, many local farmers usually export their paddy rice to Nigeria because, as local sources explain, the prices obtained in Nigeria are more competitive. Also, Nigeria has important rice husking equipment that can barely be found in the Cameroonian rice-producing regions.
Brice R. Mbodiam