The organisation Program for the Consolidation and Sustainability of Agro-pastoral Counseling best known by its French acronym as ACEFA has handed over assistance worth 140 million FCFA to over thirty farmer organisations in the South West region.
The support which comprised grants ACEFA officials said is meant to to increase productivity and contribute to food security.
The project has as objective to improve and promote the agricultural entrepreneurship and improve transformation of agricultural supply chain through the financing of productive investment projects.
Farmer organisations selected benefited from grants ranging from five hundred (500,000) FCFA to six million FCFA for producer group projects and five million to thirty million FCFA for projects presented by professional agro-pastoral organisations.
The beneficiaries of the grants according to the National Coordinator Bouba Moumini will also be monitored and assisted as they execute their projects by agents of ACEFA to ensure effectiveness.
Handing over the grants to farmers, Bouba Moumini, the National Coordinator of ACEFA urged farmers to quickly execute their projects, while telling other farmers of the benefits.
“…to implement the project quickly, so that they can improve their production, productivity, get new markets and also provide food for the cities. They should also inform other farmers that there is a possibility to finance them, to work with us, so that we can improve, we can ameliorate our consumption of funds in this region,”Bouba said.
Jackson Ntapi, Regional Delegate of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development for the SouthWwest region challenged farmers to work to improve their livelihoods, while contributing to improve food security.
“We are expecting our farmers to increase production, and contribute to food security. But before contributing to food security for everybody let them improve their livelihoods. So that is my principal objective that farmers should use these resources not to do other issues, but to invest in their farms, to improve their farms and their livelihoods,”Ntapi said.
The Anglophone crisis which started in 2016 has disproportionately affected farmers in the North West and South West region with some farmers forced out of their farms.
One effect of the crisis has been an increase in the prices of foodstuff in the local markets as across the country.
Given the already dire situation created by the socio-political crisis in the North West and South West regions, Bouba Moumini urged the farmers to respect barrier measures against COVID-19 advised by the WHO and the government of Cameroon. “We don’t want to add food crisis to the socio-political crisis, so I asked them to implement those barrier measures against covid-19,” the ACEFA coordinator pleaded.
One of the beneficiaries, Sake Jacob ,President of Silver Jubilee Common Initiative Group in Fiango-Kumba lamented the fact that the crisis has had devastating consequences on their group but was however grateful for the timely intervention of ACEFA.
“The crisis had been hard especially on us that are rearing birds because we grow them, but there are no buyers, so all along it has been very difficult and by the time when we registered for this particular project, in 2018, we were told to wait. We are very happy because it is said that it is better late than never,” Sake said.
Dione Angelina of the Holy Sabbath Common Initiative Group on her path said the grants was timely and will help them in the transformation of their produce into finish marketable products.
Going by Anglelina, “with the help of ACEFA, we will improve our production, as we plan to buy better equipment to process our produce with. Without this grant we would continue pounding cassava and sieve with our hand but now the machine will help us grind them and reduce our stress”.
According to all the beneficiaries of the grants, they hope to improve productivity as well as improving the livelihood of their members. The grants target mainly farmers united under a common grouping either as an association, a Common Initiative Group and or Cooperatives.
The South West region is one amongst five regions in the country that benefited from the pilot phase of the ACEFA programme since 2008, with only Fako and Meme Divisions involved in the initial stage. However now, all the six Divisions in the region benefit from the programme with both counseling and financing of their projects.
As of now, a total of 180 ACEFA counselors are in the region to support producers’ organisations on the technical and financial management of their farms. 823 producer groups and 4 professional agro-pastoral organisations are now receiving counseling in the region, with 1354 farmers supported.
So far 627 projects amounting to over 2.1 billion CFAF have been financed mostly in the production of cocoa, pigs and cassava in the South West region.
By, Shing T.