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World Bank Group finance to link small farmers to market opportunities in Cameroon

The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a US$100 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA)* that will help Cameroon to transform its farming sector and help small-farmers growing cassava, sorghum, and maize by linking them to more lucrative agricultural and food markets

Today’s IDA credit supports the Agriculture Investment and Market Development Project, which will establish partnerships between farm producers and agri-businesses in Cameroon to increase production of the target crops and improve the quality and productivity of approximately 300 producer organizations, benefiting 30,000 farming households.

In Cameroon, 60% of the population works in agriculture, however productivity is extremely low. “By transforming Cameroon’s traditional farming into a more productive commercial activity, today’s project will help unlock the potential of its agriculture industry to become an engine for economic growth, job creation and income generation,” said Gregor Binkert, World Bank Country Director for Cameroon

Cassava, maize, and sorghum, are three of the main pillars of Cameroon’s food security, grown by over 1.5 million farming households. However, the lack of adequate food production has increased imports of these commodities from other countries.

The project will establish partnerships between agricultural farmers, producers, industries and the private sector that will promote competitiveness by improving the productivity and production of these basic crops and the quality of their products. By transforming cassava, maize, and sorghum farming into a commercial agriculture market with improved technologies and measures to increase yields, agricultural infrastructure, rural financial services, and marketing will help develop a viable local agriculture industry while improving food security, growth and employment.

“Cameroonian agro-industrial companies and small agriculture enterprises are expressing great interest in sourcing local raw materials and processed products,” said Maniével Sène, the World Bank Task Team Leader for this Project. “The partnerships between producers organizations, buyer agro-businesses and financial institutions established under the project will upgrade the cassava, maize, and sorghum farming activities to meet the buyer agro-businesses’ demands then to a significant share of the country’s agriculture market demands and improve the livelihoods of local farmers.

The project is part of a joint IDA/IFC (International Finance Corporation) initiative. The IFC will help expand the potential for agricultural lending for farm producers by providing guarantee funds and sharing the lending risk with partnering financial institutions

“We look forward to the successful implementation of this project, which will go a long way towards achieving agricultural transformation, improving food security, creating economic growth, and increased job opportunities throughout Cameroon,” said Severin Kodderitzsch, the World Bank’s Food and Agriculture Global Practice Manager

by S. C.
29 september 2014, World News > Africa