Cameroon produced 2.3 million tons of maize, according to the information provided by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (Minader) Gabriel Mbairobe, during this month’s Cabinet Council chaired on June 25, 2020, by Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute.
This production was unable to satisfy national demand, which, stood at a little over 2.8 million tons, we learn. This means that during the period under review, the country recorded a deficit of more than 500,000 tons.
This deficit, which has persisted for several years, often forces brewing companies to resort to imports to meet their maize grits needs. The same applies to the poultry industry, for which maize constitutes up to 80% of provender, the main chicken feed.
Due to this discrepancy between national maize production and the needs of industries and the population, the Cameroonian government created the national support programme for the maize sector a few years ago. This programme, steered by the Ministry of Agriculture, made the headlines in the country in 2006.
Indeed, after a field survey, the Association for the Defence of Collective Interests (Acdic) revealed that several Common Initiative Groups (GICs) not involved in maize production were on the list of beneficiaries of the programme’s funding.
The Acdic also discovered that these GICs, most of them fictitious, were all run by Minader executives, who were harvesting public funds through a visibly well-oiled mechanism. The funds diverted during the implementation of this program was estimated at over CFA1 billion.
In 2017, after an audit on the effectiveness of the various programs steered by the Minader, 15 of them were simply cancelled, including the national support programme for the maize sector (whose coordinator was already in trouble with the law).