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Cameroon – Agribusiness: The antiquated infrastructure and competition from China plague the cotton sector in Cameroon

The antiquated infrastructure and competition from China plague the cotton sector in Cameroon
Written by Deckson N.

During the European week, the city of Yaoundé just hosted a forum of experts exchanges on the cotton sector on the theme: “Evolution, challenges and prospects of the cotton sector in Cameroon and its accompaniment by the partners “.

The purpose of the event organized by the European Investment Bank, the European Union Delegation and the Support Unit for the National Authorizing Officer of the European Development Fund was to highlight the value chain of the cotton sector and its contribution to the economy of the far north of the country. It is also a question of examining the financing prospects of the development partners.

It emerged from this forum that the challenges facing the cotton sector in Cameroon are enormous. In terms of production, there have been recent significant losses due to cotton wetting, cottonseed and soybean inventory depreciation and product shedding.

Sodecoton’s transport truck fleet and its ginneries and oil mills are outdated. Power cuts are frequent. To remedy these deficiencies, it has been calculated that the financing needs of Sodecoton are around 40 billion FCFA in the short term.

In terms of processing, Cicam is now the only textile industry in the Cemac subregion. While in 1985 it processed 85% of the cotton fibers produced on the national territory, today Cicam occupies only 5% of the Cameroonian market. More than 80% of African cotton is currently processed in China at much lower costs.

Forum experts discussed the lines of action to reorganize the sector. They plan to increase the area and improve their mechanization, intensify the sustainable management of soil fertility, increase the production capacity of cottonseed oil, develop cotton fiber and products such as refined oil and feed, to create a high-quality cotton brand “Made in Africa“.

The cotton sector is of particular importance for Cameroon and especially for its northern areas, characterized by high poverty rates and security instabilities. The Cameroon cotton zone covers 85 000 km2 and has about 200 000 cotton producers, producing around 250 000 tonnes per year. More than two million people in Cameroon depend in one way or another on the cotton value chain. The tax impact of the sector can be estimated at 30-40 billion FCFA/year and the contribution to the GDP of the north to 8-10%.

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Deckson N.

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