20 May, 2020
A technical team of Incatema Consulting & Engineering has carried out an intermediate assessment of the EU-funded programme of support measures for the banana sector in Cameroon. From among its results, we would highlight the existence and activity of the association ASSOBACAM, which comprises all companies of the sector (both public and private, national and international). ASSOBACAM facilitates cooperation between members and the provision of common services thereby reducing marketing costs, in addition to the exchange of experience to foster the sector’s global improvement on a national scale.
The following achievements stand out from the assessment:
• Collaboration between actors helps to improve the country’s overall capacity to compete in a highly-demanding global market. This collaboration and exchange of experiences is not conceived as a reduction of the comparative advantage versus other national competitors, but rather offers shared benefits for the entire sector by facilitating common export strategies.
• All investments made to improve employees’ quality of life and provide a safe working environment adequate for workers’ needs result in the enhanced global competitiveness of the companies. When employees can rely on a safe working environment and obtain adequate pay, they are more motivated and committed to the job.
• Investments made to reduce the environmental footprint of banana production reduce the dependency on foreign supplies, principally phytosanitary products, which are mostly imported and affect the country’s trade balance.
Finally, it has been verified that the positive results achieved by the banana sector provide practical lessons that can be transferred to other agricultural produce exporters of Cameroon, as they respond to fundamental principles of sustainable rural development, such as:
• Cooperation between actors
• Reduced consumption of external supplies
• Reduced environmental footprint of production
• Promotion of a safe working environment
The MAB programme is designed to foster the sustainable growth of Cameroon’s banana sector
The programme of measures to accompany banana production is intended to foster the sustainable growth of this sector by co-financing specific collaboration actions with Cameroon’s producers, with a view to ensuring the sector’s economic viability, social sustainability and the elimination of potential negative environmental effects on nature of the production activity.
In the course of the assessment, Incatema’s technical team visited all plantations and beneficiary companies, confirming on the ground the level of progress of the various development projects co-financed by the EU and the beneficiaries, oriented mainly at:
• Developing production capacities facilitating the development of new plantations on more adequate terrain and crop rotation that facilitates plantations’ sustainability in the long term.
• Modernising irrigation systems, to provide a more efficient use of water and less energy consumption.
• Implementing innovative crop management techniques such as biological war and plant cover systems that help lower the consumption of products.
• Investing in the quality of life improvements for producers that result in an improved working environment and general improvement in final product quality through a greater implication of workers who find their daily efforts duly compensated.
• Modernising port infrastructures to facilitate the trade of the produce and the collaboration of the various producer companies.
Cooperation between actors reduces marketing costs
The banana sector represents a magnificent example of how cooperation between actors, innovation and firm support for product quality can help Cameroon’s farming production to compete in more demanding international markets, guaranteeing dignified means of living for employees, along with the economic and environmental sustainability of the sector.