CAMEROON – The government of Cameroon is set to distribute a variety of planting materials for the 2020 agricultural season, aimed to reduce risk of food scarcity amid the current health pandemic across the globe.

In that regard, the government will boost the production of short-cycle crops like bananas, cassava and corn to enable regular supply in local markets.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Gabriel Mbairobe said 1.4 million certified cassava cuttings and 1,649 tons of high-quality corn seeds will be distributed to producers.

In addition, 1.5 million plantain banana seedlings, representing 10% of the needed seedling for the season will be disburdened as well.

According to the African Research Centre on Banana and Plantain (Carbap), the annual demand for seedlings for banana and plantain production in Cameroon is estimated at 20 million plants.

To meet this ever-increasing demand, the Carbap introduced the PIF technique (plants resulting from stem fragments).

With this technique, the producer can improve the quantity and quality of seedlings in a relatively shorter period. For instance, it illustrates, 10 to 20 plants can be produced every year from one single stem fragment.

Other than promoting production of the short cycle crops, the government is also planning to distribute 6 million cocoa seedlings to producers who want to create new farms or expand their existing ones.

Depending on the variety, these plants will go into production after a period ranging from 18 to 36 months. They will ultimately densify the Cameroonian orchard and increase the country’s cocoa production.

For years, the aging plantations have been obstacles to an increase in the country’s cocoa production and have had significant impacts on yield.

To reverse that trend, the cocoa-coffee board launched the project “New Generation” about 10 years ago to attract young people into cocoa farming. That way, the sector will have a young production force and new cocoa plants.