[Cameroon] financing agriculture - farmers hold parley with project managers and bankers
The National Confederation of Cameroon Cooperatives and Agro-pastoral Federations, CONACFAC met development partners in Yaounde to find solutions to farmers' challenges such as project writing and financing. According to CONACFAC President, Mbialeu Jean-Marie Noel, many farmers' organisations are still unaware of the many agricultural and livestock projects financed by government from which they can draw enormous benefits.
The forum, the first of its kind since CONACFAC was founded in 2010, was therefore an opportunity for farmer leaders to listen and discuss with national coordinators of these projects, Mbialeu said. In all, coordinators of 15 State-sponsored agricultural and livestock projects addressed the farmers; while representatives of eight banks explained the financing opportunities farmers could source. Meanwhile, farmer's representatives will meet in a year's time to evaluate the gains from the 2021 forum with development partners.
Founded in 2010, CONACFAC now boasts over 300 farmers'organisations in eight of Cameroon's 10 regions. It has a membership of 50,000 small-scale farmers who produce about 8,000 metric tonnes of coffee and 35,000 metric tonnes of cocoa annually; in addition to food crops, Mbialeu disclosed. "We expect that after the forum, farmer leaders will take advantage of the project financing opportunities presented to them to boost their output and incomes," Mbialeu Jean-Marie said.
Meanwhile, the European Union made a presentation on the involvement of farmers' organisations in the coffee, cocoa and oil palm sectors. It was disclosed that the EU and government are preparing a draft bill on reforming these sectors, which will be submitted to Parliament next June. In this light, CONACFAC was urged to henceforth play a greater role in lifting Cameroon's agriculture to higher heights.
Farmers also held one-on-one sessions with bankers and national coordinators of agricultural and livestock projects. This was followed by a visit of farmers' exhibition stands by the guests.