(Business in Cameroon) - On July 20, 2018, Paul Biya (photo), Cameroon’s president signed a decree appointing Fissou Kouma as the director general of Société d'expansion et de modernisation de la riziculture de Yagoua (Semry) in charge of the development of rice culture in the country.
The newly appointed director has been a council member, since 2002, in Yagoua, chief-town of Mayo-Danay, located 10 kilometers from the Chadian town Bongor. He replaces Marc Samantana who is leaving behind a company facing numerous crisis. In 2017 for instance, the public company’s staff required the payment of not less than 5 months salary arrears and strikes were frequent.
In 2012, M. Samantana was summoned by the Budget and Finance Disciplinary Council which investigated his management between 2008 and 2009. He was then declared guilty of five management errors and required to refund CFA31.5 million to Semry.
Let’s remind that the Semry was created on February 24, 1971, to ensure rice self-sufficiency in Cameroon. In its glory days, this company used to employ 1,500 workers and provide jobs to 25,000 families of rice producers (more than 120,000 people living of rice production). Nowadays, despite numerous state funding, the annual production is barely 100,000 tons out of a local demand estimated at about 300,000 tons.