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Stakeholders name challenges, prospects for fishery, agriculture

By Eratus Ndueh

The Cameroon Investment Promotion Agency (CIPA) are reportedly working in collaboration with other authorities, as well as other public and private bodies, to ensure that Cameroon demarcates itself as a reliable agricultural and fishery commercial hub for potential investors CNA has learned.

This as they mobilize for the organization of their 4th edition of the Cameroon investment forum in Douala from April 17 to 19, 2024 under the theme: ‘the attraction of productive investments in agricultural and fishery value chains with a view to intensifying the import-substitution dynamic in Cameroon,’ with emphasis laid on the rice, corn, fish, milk and palm oil sectors.

What added value is this forum going to provide Cameroon?

In an exchange with an economist, Henri Kouam, the founder of the Cameroon Economic Policy Institute (CEPi), he told CNA that, the CIPA forum is going to brings values to Cameroon because it is an opportunity for the diaspora and potential investors to see the different inve
stments opportunities in the agriculture sector. ‘Cameroon is currently under producing rice, and therefore we have to rely on import from Indonesia, India and other countries.’

He added that, ‘we have problems in improving the palm oil sector. it’s not untill a french company took over SOCAPALM, that we saw production increase dramatically and this has cause many to think that privatization is the answer to publicly owned companies.’

The forum is also a leeway for local businesses and entrepreneurs to speak, meet and engage with potential investors in and out of the country, who will help them raise funds to expand their activities, reach new markets and create partnerships.

However, the CEO of CEPI says, in as much as the country strives to promote import substitution policy, it should not be in conflict with free trade because they are mutually reinforcing. ‘Cameroon can substitute import for things like fleur, by making cassava fleur. So while we are emphasizing import substitution in things like rice,
palm oil, fish and corn, we should also ensure that we can buy from the most effective producers across the world. Because the point is to make sure that consumers pay the lowest price for these goods,’ ex-railed Henri Kouam.

Some difficulties facing Cameroon in the sector.

According to reports, Cameroon has been going through lot of challenges to meet up to standards in the sector. As outlined below;

The lack of financing especially for women has been the main impediment to the growth and development of the sector.

We have not been able to measure the effectiveness of agricultural policies that have been put in place by the government, partners or private sector.

There is a lack and the absent of synergy between the civil society, the private sector and government to coordinating their actions to improve productivity.

The business environment is currently difficult for agricultural companies.

Taxation is too high 30 to 33 percent in taxes is too high for someone who just started farming.

As a solutio
n, expert propose that the government should reinstate the 3 years tax break that was given to companies when they registered. This is going to encourage more businesses to register and as a result will have the greatest share of farmers financially stable and accessing banks and financial institutions.

Source: Cameroon News Agency