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Lebialem Groups Elated At Poverty Alleviation Equipment — Women in Fontem, Lebialem, have expressed profound gratitude following the reception of brand new equipment aimed at easing their hitherto labour intensive and tedious daily chores.

The United Kingdom (UK) branch of Lebang Cultural and Development Organisation, LECUDO, recently donated three grinding mills to the villages of Nkah-Njenallah, Njentse & Lekong in Fontem, Lebang.  The move, according to LECUDO-UK officials, falls within the framework of empowerment and emancipation of inhabitants of Lebang Kingdom in general, and women in particular. 

The machines, valued at about FCFA 1.6 million, were handed over to the communities at the Menji Council Chambers by the first Deputy Mayor, Fualeke Teku Fuanyi. Also present were; the Deputy President of LECUDO, Sabas Asong, traditional authorities from the beneficiary communities, councillors of Menji Council and Columbus Njualem Ndeloa (Ndi Nkem Nju  from London) who commissioned the project.

According to the LECUDO-UK representative, the machines are multi-purpose,   dedicated for wet food material (such as cassava), dry grains (corn, rice among others) and dry spices (like peppers) and so on.  He further stated that learning from the successes of similar initiative elsewhere in Africa, the machines will transform variety of farm food into different consumable types.

“The goal is to improve food security, availability and affordability in Fontem –Cameroon, especially within the communities, thereby reducing malnutrition and poverty, especially amongst women who are the main breadwinners.” 

Nkem Nju added that, the machines would also serve as an opportunity to instigate community development, improve agricultural production, thereby reducing hunger. Given that cassava and corn are the main indigenous crops cultivated, fast-growing and well-adapted to the environment, the grinding mill will be used to accelerate the transformation of food stuff for household consumption and sale in the local markets.

The long-term effect of increasing cassava and corn production will ultimately improve food security, increase economic output and improve living conditions for people, especially women. During the handing over ceremony, Nkem Nju reiterated that LECUDO-UK’s   commitment is in promoting development and, especially, alleviating the suffering of rural women who are the sole breadwinners in several families.

He expressed hope that the grinding mill would help the beneficiary women to reduce the labour and time they must spend preparing food for their families and increase their income by enabling them to sell processed food stuff, rather than raw grain at the local market. The Deputy Mayor of Fontem Council, just as the Vice President of LECUDO, lauded the efforts of LECUDO-UK and urged other development groups in the division to do the same.

Machine operators have been trained to ensure sustainable use of the equipment. Proper management and use of the machines will be supervised by LECUDO-Cameroon, various village development associations, CEDCOW and The Fine Forest Foundation.

First published in The Post print edition no. 01344

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