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Cameroon: Government wants more investment in Wheat production

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Composite image of wheat field with bright blue sky.

Following protests over wheat shortages and price increases triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Cameroon President Paul Biya has announced that the government will increase financing to grow more wheat. Before Russia imposed a blockade on the Black Sea, Cameroon obtained 60% of its wheat imports through Ukraine. The cutoff has caused the price of bread to rise by close to 50%.

According to the Cameroon administration, President Paul Biya ordered a payout of more than $15 million on Monday for the state of central Africa to grow wheat.

According to Gabriel Mbairobe, the agriculture minister of Cameroon, Biya heeded citizens’ complaints that the cost of living is skyrocketing and many people are struggling to put food on the table.

Mbairobe claims that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has entirely interrupted the flow of consumer products, particularly wheat, which is Cameroon’s main staple meal. He claims that investing in the production of wheat is a smart move because each Cameroonian uses 33 kilos of wheat yearly, compared to 23 kilograms of rice. He claims that Cameroon has various locations where wheat can be farmed.

According to the government, Cameroon only produces around a quarter of the 1.6 million tons of wheat it requires annually. More than 850,000 tons were bought by the government from Russia and Ukraine last year. Currently, the Cameroon Importers Union reports that since January 2022, up to 25,000 tons have been imported.

According to Mbairobe, local alternatives like sweet potato, cassava, and yams should take the place of the wheat Cameroon imports from Russia and Ukraine while the country waits for its own newly planted wheat to be harvested before the end of the year.

Cameroon advises supporters to use cassava, yams, and potato in place of imported wheat for making bread.

Following many weeks of widespread demonstrations against food shortages, Biya ordered the investment of more than $15 million to increase wheat production. The cost of bread has increased by about 50% as a result of the wheat shortage.

Leopoldo Magellan The Consumers League of Cameroon, headed by Kamseu Kamgaing, claims that the protests were organized by his organization in an effort to persuade the government to take quick action that will lessen rising hunger and resentment among the populace.

After COVID-19, according to Kamgaing, Russia’s war in Ukraine is causing significant food shortages and unheard-of price increases on imported staple commodities like cereal. He claims that the majority of homes in Cameroon consume bread but that many people cannot afford it. According to Kamgaing, the government should consult with its people and take action to avert a potential famine.

According to Kamgaing, the government should give local farmers subsidies and fertilizers to boost their output of plantains, rice, yams, and cassava.

Despite the misery it is creating, Kamgaing argued that Cameroon should use the conflict in Ukraine as a chance to invest in its domestic businesses and reduce its reliance on imports.

According to the administration, Biya’s requested funds will either be utilized to purchase fertilizer or distributed as subsidies to wheat producers. Tractors will be bought with some of the money.

According to the U.N., the war that Russia is waging in Ukraine is putting 1.7 billion people in 107 economies, including 41 African nations, at risk of rising food costs, rising energy prices, or tighter financial circumstances.

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