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Cameroon Ranked 2nd Most Exploited Land In Africa 

By Nadege Lekungha Sama — It has been revealed that Cameroon is the second most exploited land in Africa after Egypt. This is a disclosure made by the Community Initiative for Sustainable Development, COMINSUD, along side 12 African countries, Switzerland and Luxembourg.

They made the revelation in Yaoundé over the weekend during a three-day, West and Central Africa Land Workshop christened “Protecting Local Communities, women and minorities against unfavourable land deals”. Speaking in a press conference after the three-day workshop, COMINSUD organiser Mrs. Mercy Nguti explained that Cameroon ranks second as the most exploited land in Africa after Egypt.

To her, this exploitation is motivated principally by the coming of foreign bodies in the country that invest and export more than half of the final produce. It was disclosed at the workshop that even though Africa is endowed with natural resources for agriculture, at least 90 percent of agricultural activities carried out on land acquired by large multinational companies in most African countries, do not benefit local communities.

Mrs. Nguti said that with the total surface area of 475 000km2, Cameroon can only boast of 7.16million hectares of arable land which is divided amongst the local community and investors. According to her, despite this division of land, the little quota dedicated to local communities and minority groups are still grabbed by local multinational investors whose produce are never beneficial to the local community.

Also speaking during the press conference, another expert, Meigno Bakogne, explained that about 276 000 hectares of land are occupied by investors who exploit the land and its produce. He, however, bemoaned the fact that a greater part of the produce is destined for foreign markets to the detriment of the country. Bakogne explained that, as part of activities to fight land grabbing by local and foreign bodies, the group visited Koteng, a sugar cane growing community. He said this initiative was to see how SOSUCAM utilised the land in favour of themselves and that of the local community.

Upon arrival, it was discovered that most of the land in Koteng was invaded by sugar cane and that the Koteng people do not have enough space for farming. Bakogne explained that this was unfair to the citizens especially as the end product is not a consumer good and that a greater part of it is exported to foreign markets.

Coupled with the land grabbing issue, Bakogne revealed that the Koteng population is at risk as the sugar canes being spread, pollute the air and water, which are harmful and deadly to the inhabitants. Due to this, Bakogne said over 50 percent of African population both in rural and urban areas suffer from hunger, poverty and diseases that can be avoided if the local community, minority and women are allowed to use a greater part of land for their farm work and local consumption.

First published in The Post print edition no 01425

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