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Vox pop:Should Cameroon Continue Importing Rice And Fish? 

Compiled by Chris Mbunwe, Nformi Sonde Kinsai, Sarah Luma* & Helen Tanyitiku* *(Soa Law & UB Journalism Students On Internship)

In my opinion, since the country produces rice and I have also heard of the ocean where they can do fishing, let the government of Cameroon finance the farmers that cultivate rice so that their industry should go further, hence furnish the country with enough rice in order to help the economy grow. Importing rice costs a lot of money and when the goods arrive at the seaport, it costs money to retrieve them and send them to the various towns in the country.

As far as fish farmers are concerned, the government should help them too with subventions so that they can have machines like boats and whatsoever they may need for fishing. Cameroon has everything but it takes the government to assist those that are taking part in it so that the industry will grow further.
Jidda Adamu Ousman, Student,  Buea

No Reason For Importation
In a modern era and in a country like ours that is rich in natural resources, we have no reason to import rice and fish. In the early 1980s and late 1990s, we knew of areas like Ndop, Benue region in the North, Befang in Menchum, Akwaya in the Southwest, and so on, where rice was produced in good quantities and some exported to Nigeria. But, out of a sudden, apparently because of economic crisis or laxity of government, rice production in these areas was abandoned and the country turned to importation. We are open to the ocean and there is equally no reason for fish importation.

We only need to create training schools for fishermen and with the promotion of their activities; we could begin to export fish. If we have trained Cameroonians fishermen, the influence of foreigners like Nigerian and Ghanaian fishermen may be limited. Government needs to put in place a good policy for agriculture and subsidise rice and fish structures to revamp their activities. This will boost the economy and create jobs.
Thomas Samba Ndam, Documentation Business, Y’de

No Mechanised Fishing In Cameroon
The quantity of rice cultivated in Cameroon is insufficient to take care of the millions of Cameroonians who live on rice as a stable food, so, Cameroon is bound to import rice as well as fish. The quality of rice we cultivate in Cameroon is good but must be cooked with care else it sticks together in lumps; that is why we rush for imported rice.

There is no mechanised fishing in Cameroon.  The manner in which we do fishing here is still primitive and the number of fishermen in the coastal zones cannot satisfy the so many consumers of fish. If we improve on the method of fishing, we would import less.
Frederick Oroacktakang Tantang , Teacher, Bamenda

Fish, Rice Importation Is Necessary
The importation of fish and rice in Cameroon is very important because we don’t have the necessary technology to produce them, since the fish we catch in our waters is really more expensive. Considering that we don’t yet have enough finance to produce fish and rice, their importation is very important for now.
Irene Khushi, Court Registra, Buea

Local Producers Should Be Promoted
Cameroon imports rice and fish because locally produced quantities are insufficient. Fish ponds for fish breeding are rather dwindling and that explains why we import massively. I am against rice importation because we have the potential to produce it in large quantities. Rice is produced in the northern part of Cameroon but the population knows little or nothing about it. This lack of information pushes many to consume imported rice. Local rice producers should be supported financially and materially, and roads made passable for them to bring their products to town for sell.
Nicole Ayissi, Administrative Secretary, Yaounde

Cameroon Has Potentials To Cultivate Rice, Fish
Well, I think that Cameroon has the potentials of cultivating both rice and fish. What the government should do is to encourage the fishing sector, especially now that they have complete authority over the Bakassi area. The government of Cameroon can invest in that area by training the people and supplying them with fishing boats.

And I am very sure that if the government exploits the fishing school at Batoke, we will be able to have enough fishermen to do fish cultivation. On the other hand, when I was a kid I used to know about the Mbo Plain around the Santchou area. So, government should invest in the area and in the Ndop Plain, and why not in the fishing industry. Cameroon can boast of all and why not export to neighbouring Central African countries.
Andrew Abimni Akombong, Tele-Controller, CAMTEL, Buea

Train Fishermen
Cameroon continues to import rice and fish everyday because we have not invested enough money into the sectors to boost agriculture. It might interest you to know that Cameroon has a balance of payment deficit on rice and fish production. We have a huge deficit, which shows that we are not doing much in areas of fish and rice production. 

Though the government has started sponsoring the PACCA project, it will not be enough for this sector to be viable enough to sustain all Cameroonians. If government puts in a lot of money in Ndop, Tingoh and parts of the West Region, we would be able to stop importation of rice and fish. Also, we need to train more fishermen to make sure that the fish sector is more vibrant.
Gilbert Forba, Head Office Management, Star Credit, Bamenda

Importation Is Very Important
I think that the importation of rice and fish is very important. Looking at the continuous increase in population and considering that our locally produced rice and fish are rather inadequate, we cannot meet their demand. So, I think the government should really look at the quality of rice and fish that is being imported. It should really be controlled, because, some of the chemicals that are used to preserve these imported products might have a negative consequence on our system.
Agnes Besong, Court Registrar, Buea

Sensitise Cameroonians On Rice, Fish Production
Cameroon government does not listen to the cry of the farmers. That is why agriculture is not developed.  The government should sensitise Cameroonians on rice and fish production as it is done in other developing countries.  There are lakes and some rivers in Cameroon where fish farming can be introduced. For the fishermen on the job, I will recommend that hey should be motivated with prizes.
Franklin Akoso Suh- Call Box Operator, Bamenda

Ensure That Rice Is Produced Locally
Rice is a basic commodity on which most Cameroonian families depend, especially in big towns. In the Northern Regions of Cameroon, precisely in the Mayo-Danay Division, rice was being produced in large quantities. Today, production levels have dropped even though it was also previewed that it will be produced around the Lagdo area.

That project, to the best of my knowledge, is yet to go operational. We are therefore obliged to import rice especially as the local production cannot meet up with the demand. Time has come for government to ensure that rice is produced in the country on an industrial scale considering the huge sum spent to import rice and fish.

Government should train and encourage farmers of the rice sector by irrigating their farms and providing fertilizers at subsidised prices. Without industrial fish production, demand is bound to remain ahead of local supply and we would be forced to import. Economic operators in the country should invest in the sector in order to remedy the situation.
Jean Tiga, Commercial Agent, Yaounde

I Am Embarrassed that Cameroon Still Import Rice, Fish
I am embarrassed that Cameroon still import rice and fish given that rice and fish does not constitute the basic commodities of Cameroonians like corn and vegetables. It is at the level of failed policies and some people who have vested interest in this importation business that try to promote the importation and thereby give the impression that Cameroonians live on fish and rice. 

Meanwhile, as I know, most Cameroonians live on corn fufu and vegetable and potatoes and we have enough of these items. However, there are a lot of rice areas that have been abandoned, namely UNVDA and Simri in the North and West regions. Let’s improve on these fields and things will be better.
Colbert Kwain – Journalist, Bamenda

Gov’t Should Invest In Rice, Fish Cultivation
Government should try to invest more in the cultivation of fish and rice so as to avoid importation.   
Berry Nkwteryim, Businesswoman – Buea

Gov’t Should Go Industrial In Production
Cameroon has a problem with what they produce because it cannot meet up with the population. They are obliged to import fish and rice to meet up with the local demand. I will advise that the Cameroon government should go industrial in the production of fish and rice. So, I think the government should do something in order that in the nearest future the rate of importation will drop. At least, that will enable us to take care of our economy efficiently.
Chief Peter Fonkem, Headmaster GS Molyko – Buea

Cameroon Is Very Rich
I am of the opinion that Cameroon is very rich and since we have a lot of money we keep importing rice and fish. These are items that can conveniently be produce in the country. Otherwise, why are we not consuming home produce like rice from UNVDA Ndop which tastes better and is far nourishing than the rubbish we import daily. 
Patrick Ntiekiang Tamagoh – Pedagogic Adviser Basic Education Ngoketunjia

Gov’t Should Invest In Fish Rice Consumption
The government of Cameroon is not encouraging local production of rice and fish. They prefer to import from countries like China, Thailand, Malaysia, Morocco, etc. As a consumer, I want what looks clean and that is why when we go to the market, we look for long grain imported rice. If government encourages local production and buy heavy equipment needed, we can also produce massively and export some toe the countries from where we are now importing.

The whole thing is not a big deal. Government needs only to pump money into the rice and fish sectors. Government should keep aside a reasonable budget for these sectors. I will encourage farmers of the sector to remain patient because something positive could always happen in the short or long run.
Nancy Kate, Commercial Agent, Yaounde

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