The trigger came from a presidential will. The city of Ebolowa in the South was hosting its National Agro-Pastoral Show in 2011. President Paul Biya expressed some regret. Cameroon has been producing what she does not consume. She has been consuming what she does not produce. The rural exodus has forced young people to go for an urban adventure.
City dwellers might risk to starve themselves because there are no workers back in the village for farming. The solution lies in the advent of second generation agriculture. It aims at modernising the production tool. It has to be done in such a way that few people can sow and harvest large quantities of foodstuff in order to feed thousands of individuals. It happens through the involvement of machines.
The other aspects are local processing, and professional and contractual marketing in the name of the «Greater Achievements» of economic emergence. According to the Head of State, «Cameroon relies above all on the primary sector, in particular agriculture, livestock farming, fishing and crafts, or to become, by 2035, an emerging country. Agriculture, in its broad meaning, that is including livestock farming and fishing, is the actual wealth of our country, and that mining and oil revenues, however useful they might be, cannot be the only basis for our development.» The relative control of the fall in oil prices has made Cameroon a model of economic diversity in Central Africa, thanks in part to agriculture.
It employs 60% of citizens. Among them, 30% are livestock farmers: poultry farming 85.9%, sheep 55.1%, goats 27.2%, pigs 23.3% and cattle 17.9%. Cattle, poultry, pigs and small ruminants, those PRODEL’s sectors, in addition to honey, are sources of income that improve the living conditions of rural households. These speculations ensure nutrition and food security. One of the concrete second generation agricultural objectives in terms of livestock farming is therefore the implementation of PRODEL. Its development objective reads: «improve the productivity of targeted production systems and the marketing of their products to the selected beneficiaries and provide an immediate and effective response in the event of an eligible crisis or emergency”.
The said objective addresses constraints such as the poor education of farmers, prevalence of parasites and infectious diseases among 70% of livestock farms, low productivity of local species, approximation of advisory services, limited access to rural credit/funding and to processing and marketing infrastructure. However, they are able to maximise the added value for the benefit of livestock farmers. PRODEL therefore has until January 2023 to reverse the trends deplored above.
The aim is to have a planned, positive and measurable impact on 120,000 pastoral households, including shepherds, producer organisations and their umbrella associations, 20,000 small and medium-sized private operators and companies, vulnerable groups (women, youth and other at-risk people such as the Baka) and livestock farming support services (public livestock research and accessibility services and service providers involved in the targeted livestock value chains in the Project areas). Everything is done against the backdrop of compliance with a livestock farming model known as climate smart.
Dr Abouame Sale,
National Coordinator of PRODEL