The project to increase maize production in Cameroon by Mbasmagra cooperative was an initiative and agreement signed with Agricultural Investment and Market Development Project (PIDMA) on April 24 2016 to produce 240 tons of corn to feed industries and groups in Cameroon that depends on imported corn.
To materialize their dreams of Cameroon and its industries being independent of imported corn that has now been outlawed, PIDMA provided one and half ton of quality pannar12 seeds said to be high yielding. The seeds will be planted in 60 hectares of land, and according to experts, it will produce over 240 tons of corn. Speaking to reporters after signing a deal with Mbasmagra, Mr. Samuel Yen, the regional coordinator of PIDMA stated that, as oppose to the local seed whose production capacity ranges from one and a half to two tons per hectre, the hybrid pannar12 seeds imported from South Africa can produce at least four tons per hectare, double what the local seeds produces.
According to the PIDMA, MBASMAGRA contract, 500tons of maize to be planted in three shifts will be done using the Pannar12 quality and chemically treated seeds to be planted in 60 hectares of corn in Koke, Kombo in Mbonge Sub division of Meme in the Southwest region.
On his part, the president of Mbasmagra cooperative, Mr. Stephen Song Mbatang outlined that some of the problems they have faced comprised of difficulties when it came to financial contributions, inputs meant for the farm being carried away by some members, amongst others. To restrain the difficulties faced, Mr. Stephen Song Mbatang announced that an administrative unit alongside a good storage facility would be built in their farm to ease control and enhance better management of the cooperative and its members. According to Mr. Stephen Song Mbatang the cooperative feeds at least 500 families.
Mr. Stephen Song acknowledged that the Cameroon government provided 50 percent of the funding they received through the World Bank and under PIDMA. He stated that with the funding received, their farmers now have some hope. He noted that their cooperative is made up of young farmers most of whom have had training in agriculture.
Commenting on the president’s call for youths to engage in Agriculture, Mr. Stephen noted that the idea is a good and very important one but noted that that for farming to be made reasonable and productive, the pattern needs to be changed, so that those engaging in the field have good training. To him, engaging in the soil business needs to be done in an intelligent way in order to guarantee good results. To him, president Biya’s speech should be accompanied by training of youths in the sector and not just a verbal call. The Mbasmagra farm spans over 500 hectares used mainly for cultivating maize and cassava.