The Minister of Agriculture, Gabriel Mbairobe has just closed in Mbankomo, a workshop aimed at finalizing the national strategy for the development of the competitiveness of the rice sector.
This strategy, which is based on the promotion of activities and multi-faceted support aimed at intensifying the cultivation of irrigated and rainfed rice, aims to increase local production of this cereal from the current level of about 100,000 tonnes to 450,000 tonnes in 2025, and finally to 750,000 tonnes by 2030. To achieve this goal, Cameroon can count on the expertise of Japan, which already supports the Rainfed Rice Development Project.
“The objective is to satisfy national consumption and modernise rice production. Today, only ploughing is mechanised. So we plan to modernise the harvest, storage and hulling, in order to have sufficient capacity to make rice available,” explains Minister Mbairobe.
The elaboration of the national strategy for the development of the competitiveness of the rice sector, which fits perfectly into the import-substitution policy advocated by the Cameroonian authorities, comes on the heels of Cameroon obtaining financing of about 52 billion CFA francs from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB). These funds will be used for the implementation of the Rice Value Chain Development Programme, it is learnt.
As a reminder, rice and frozen fish are the main food products imported into Cameroon. According to the National Institute of Statistics (NIS), for the first half of 2021 alone, rice accounted for 5% of Cameroon’s total imports, which amounted to 1,824 billion CFA F for 5.07 million tonnes of goods.
In order to satisfy ever-increasing local demand, and in the face of local production that generally hovers around 100,000 tonnes each year, the Cameroonian authorities are announcing imports of 400,000 tonnes of rice for the current year 2022.