CAMEROON- President Paul Biya has signed off on a buyer credit and commercial credit agreement with Standard Chartered Bank valued at CFA 50 billion (US$82 million) and CFA 1.89 billion (US$3.18 million), respectively, in a move meant to expand Cameroon’s agriculture output. 

The two agreements will support the implementation of the Hydro-Agricultural Development Project covering 15,300 hectares in the Adamaoua region. 

The project will involve construction of irrigation systems, road networks, procurement of farm inputs and machinery as well as setting up agro-processing and value addition units. The funding will also help in marketing agricultural products. 

According to President Biya, the agreements are part of Cameroon’s 3-year emergency plan to accelerate economic growth through agriculture. The funding marks the initial phase of developing 35,000 hectares of arable land in the country. 

Apart from improving food security, the funding is expected to leverage the country’s agricultural potential and spearhead economic growth. The 3-year plan is part of Cameroon’s response to inflation and supply chain challenges that have stunted the agricultural sector and food production. 

According to the National Statistics Institute (NSI), food inflation rose to a historic 12.7% in 2022 compared to 4.3% in 2021. General inflation increased by 6.3% in 2022 compared to 2.3% in 2021. General inflation rose to 8.5% in 2023, while food inflation crossed the 14% mark. 

High inflation had a negative impact on the country’s agricultural sector. According to the NSI, 77.8% of agribusinesses in Cameroon reported a revenue decline in 2022 and 2023. The NSI also revealed that more than 80% of manufacturers and processors in Cameroon were directly affected by the high cost of supplies and transport. 

The proportion of food-insecure people also significantly improved within the same period. The NSI suggests that the number of food-insecure people in Cameroon increased by 48% from 2.4 million to 3.6 million within the same period.  

According to the President, the funding and the project are intended to develop resilient technology-driven systems that are resilient to climate change and supply chain disruptions but flexible enough to adjust to the prevailing market dynamics. 

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