Monday, November 28, 2022

Cameroon orders investment in wheat production to ease protests

Cameroon orders investment in wheat production to ease protests

Cameroonian President Paul Biya says the government will increase funding to grow more wheat after protests against a wheat shortage and price hikes caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Before Russia’s Black Sea blockade, Cameroon imported 60 percent of its wheat from Ukraine. The cut-off has led to an increase of about 50 per cent in the price of bread.

The Cameroonian government says President Paul Biya on Monday ordered the immediate disbursement of more than $15 million to grow wheat in the central African state.

Cameroon’s agriculture minister, Gabriel Mbirob, says Biya responded to citizens’ pleas that the cost of living is getting too high, and that many Cameroonians are finding it too difficult to keep food on the table.

Embarob says that Russia’s war in Ukraine has completely disrupted the supply chain of consumer goods, especially wheat, which is the main staple food in Cameroon. He says investing in wheat production is a wise decision as each Cameroonian consumes 33 kg of wheat every year which is more than the 23 kg of rice that each Cameroonian consumes annually. He says that wheat can be grown in many places in Cameroon.

The government says Cameroon produces less than a quarter of the 1.6 million tonnes of wheat it needs each year. Last year, the government imported more than 850,000 tons from Russia and Ukraine. Now, according to the Cameroon Importers Union, up to 25,000 tonnes have been imported since January 2022.

Mbairobe says that while the nation waits to harvest its own newly planted wheat before the end of the year, local alternatives such as sweet potatoes, cassava and yams should replace Cameroonian wheat imports from Russia and Ukraine.

Cameron says that when baking bread, supporters should replace imported wheat with local substitutes such as cassava, yams and potatoes.

After weeks of nationwide protests against the grain shortage, Biya has directed an investment of more than $15 million to grow more wheat. Due to the shortage of wheat, the price of roti has increased by about 50 percent.

The President of the Consumer League of Cameroon, Delor Magellan Kamseu Kamgaing, says that his league organized the protests to force the government to take immediate action to reduce the growing hunger and anger among citizens.

Kamgaing says that after COVID-19, Russia’s war in Ukraine is causing severe food shortages and an unprecedented rise in the prices of imported staple foods such as cereals. They say people are hungry and unable to buy bread, which is eaten in most homes in Cameroon. Kamgaing says that the government should talk to its citizens and take measures that can prevent the coming famine.

Kamgaing said the government should provide fertilizers and subsidies to local farmers to increase banana, rice, yam and cassava production.

Kamgaing said that although the war in Ukraine is hurting, Cameroon should provide an opportunity to invest in its local industries and stop its dependence on imports.

The government says the money ordered by Biya will either be used to buy manure or be paid as subsidy to wheat farmers. Some of the money will be used to buy tractors.

The United Nations reports that 1.7 billion people in 107 economies, including 41 African countries, are exposed to either rising food prices, rising energy prices or dire financial conditions as a result of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.`

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