The Government’s Economic, Financial, Social and Cultural Programme prescribes the importation of 330 pregnant heifers in 2019. A joint field visit to Senegal by the Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Industries, MINEPIAPRODEL, had already led to the selection of Montbeliarde heifers as a high-performance breed in 2018. It adapts to climatic conditions that are even harsher like those in Senegal and Mali. Moreover, its milking does not require sophisticated technologies.
Under acceptable livestock farming conditions, Montbeliarde heifers can produce between 25 and 40 litres of milk per day. However, none of the local breeds can go that far. The first core group of pregnant heifers counts 165 cows, according to Dr Jean-Marcel Mandeng, National Specialist in Animal Production Development and Quality Management: «Importations should bring an increase in milk production as a result of significant genetic improvement and appropriate feeding! This should contribute to improving food security for Cameroonians”. The country requires more than 425,000 tonnes of milk per year.
This demand represents an annual consumption of 17 kg of milk per inhabitant. National production only provides 274,630 tonnes. Compared to the overall production, the deficit is more than 120,000 tonnes of milk. The importation of milk and its products causes losses estimated at 20 billion francs per year. The action of MINEPIA via PRODEL is therefore likely to bring a little more equilibrium to the trade balance, says Dr Jean-Marcel Mandeng: «Associated with artificial insemination, the importation of high-performance heifers is the second fastest way to improve the genetics of our livestock farming in order to increase productivity and production”.
The criteria for the selection of beneficiaries are known: broad awareness raising on allotment requirements, transparent shortlisting, signature of specification books, verification of compliance with this contractual document, final list of eligible persons and draws if the number of potential beneficiaries is higher than the number of animals to be distributed. Trained shepherds, veterinarians hired by PRODEL and public animal health services will monitor Montbeliarde heifers.
By Télesphore Mba Bizo