Tuesday, November 13, 2018
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By Divine Ntaryike Jr

The Cameroon government has announced it is folding sleeves to assist banana growers double production in five years.  Trade Minister Luc Magloire Atangana Mbarga made the revelation at the launch of the banana marketing season on January 11 in southwestern seaside resort Limbe.

“From an economic standpoint, banana is a very important cash crop for Cameroon. Banana exports account for 6 percent of the country’s GDP and also constitutes the second biggest employer in the private sector after the Cameroon Development Corporation,” he pointed out.

Cameroon’s current annual production stands at 250.000 tons, and the crop also makes up 6 percent of the country’s primary exports behind timber and oil.  According to Atangana Mbarga, banana should serve as one of the launch pads to Cameroon to the rank of emerging country by 2035, given its potential to generate jobs and alleviate poverty. 

“But stakeholders must avoid working in diverse ranks and join hands in a collective effort, especially considering that banana imports in the European Union have been liberalized.  Preferential barriers and export quotas have been lifted and competition will be high, so our banana must meet required quality standards to sell in bigger volumes,” he advised.

Taking the cue, the General Manager of the Cameroon Development Corporation, Henry Njalla Quan, who doubles as President of the Association of Cameroon Banana Producers, ASOBACAM, made several recommendations designed to facilitate the attainment of double output by 2017.

“The government should make available more incentives to growers; facilitate the acquisition of farmland for producers and construct farm-to-market roads in the producing hubs to ease evacuation of the perishable crop. If we can surmount these challenges and form strong public-private sector partnerships, then we will succeed in the endeavor,” he said.

He noted that Cameroon-grown bananas currently enjoy pride of place in European markets and improving quality will only beef up demand and spur increased production.

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