The Minister Delegate in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Clementine Ananga Messina, made the announcement in Yaounde on August 12, 2020.
With the financial support of the Islamic Development Bank, the Cameroon government is about to begin the construction of a small processing plants in Noun Division of the West Region. They will be for crops such as tomatoes, maize, rice, cassava and oil palm. Meanwhile, tenders for the construction of the plants will be launched any time from now, sources say.
Making the announcement in Yaounde on August 12, 2020 at the Fifth Steering Committee Meeting of the Mount Mbappit Rural Development Project, MRDP Phase Two, the Minister Delegate in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mrs. Clementine Ananga Messina, said the project’s second phase will focus on growing the value chain. “The recent Tomato Crisis has necessitated the setting up of food processing units in Noun Division. Noun is one of the largest tomato producing divisions in the country. But tomato farmers there, like elsewhere in the country, recently witnessed a drop of between 60-70 per cent in prices,” she noted.
With producers already organized in cooperatives, this will help improve the livelihoods of rural people through the construction of infrastructure for the integrated and wholesome development of the people of Noun Division, she added. Mount Mbappit Rural Development Project Coordinator, Nji Amadou Polouogbounkouo, said in addition to the tomato producing plant in Foumbot Subdivision, all the remaining 7 subdivisions of Noun Division will also see the setting up of crop processing units for rice, palm oil, cassava and maize. “It is an integrated project that entails the construction of classrooms, health centres and rural roads,” Polouogbounkouo explained.
According to Mbom Emmanuel, the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer of the Mount Mbappit Rural Development Project Phase II, the new Foumbot tomato processing plant will cost over 700 million FCFA and is expected to go operational by mid-2021. It will comprise a cool store or refrigerated facility for storage of fresh tomatoes, and unit for processing tomatoes into tomato juice and paste. This will then be bottled and packaged in sachets for distribution. The production capacity of the tomato processing unit will be determined by studies that are about to be concluded, Mbom underscored. “The plant will have a modern warehouse that can store produce from 300-400 and even 500 farmers over a period of three to six months,” Mbom disclosed.
When all envisaged rural infrastructure will be in place, they will ease life for about 80,000 people in rural areas in Noun. Similarly, school enrolment will be doubled from the present 2,500 in 11 communities, access to health services increased to 40,000 inhabitants and good drinking water made available to 30,000 beneficiaries. Meanwhile, tomato farmers grouped into cooperatives have received a loan of 1 billion FCFA.