Yields On Government’s ‘Improved’ Seed
Farmers in the Southwest Region of Cameroon have attributed the relatively poor harvest recorded within the Region over the years to Government’s repeated distribution of expired improved seed variety at the start of the farming season. According to them, these seeds die (don’t germinate), hence, resulting to a poor harvest.
The farmers resonated their plight to The Green Vision during the 2017 edition of the Southwest Mini Agro-pastoral Show.
Speaking on behalf of the farmers, the President of Platform of Agro-Sylvo-Pastoral and fisheries professionals of Cameroon, (PLANOPAC), Ndedi Bau Akama Makia, disclosed that the Government is fond of distributing farm inputs late after the planting seasons have past. That to him, causes most if not all of the seeds to die off, hence, resulting to bad harvest/a bad farming season.
“We appreciate the government for the good initiative it has put in distributing different seeds to farmers for free. However, most of these seeds reach farmers pretty late. When we (farmers) plant these seeds, they do not germinate, hence, our harvest is affected greatly. It is high time inputs got to farmers in time because if farmers wait until March 2018 (the date for the next distribution), these inputs will be long expired,” Ndedi Bau said.
Corroborating the PLANOPAC Boss, other farmers who attended the launching of the Mini Agro-pastoral show, said they buy other seeds and add to that which the Government gives so they would not count so much losses at the end.
“When I receive maize, cassava, and beans seeds from MINADER (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development), I juxtapose them with other ones I buy from the market. In that way, I don’t incur so much loss from the dead of most of the seeds. I think that the Government delays a lot in distributing the seeds, causing most of them to die off,” added Epuli Cynthia, a Ndian based farmer.
Others blame the bad farm inputs on the delay in distribution at the level of the delegation.
“When these seeds reach the delegation, it takes so much time for them to eventually get to the farmers. Each time you go there, they tell you they are still constituting the various documents for effective distribution. That alone causes the seeds to die off at the storage house of these delegations,” lamented Roger Eko, head of a farmers’ CIG in Wotutu, Buea.
The farmers also appealed to Government to remunerate seed producers. According to them, the Government takes so much time to pay seed producers, hence, stalling their work.
“Government should speed up the payment of seed producers because since 2015 these producers have not been paid causing them to go borrowing from micro-finance institutions at high interest rates,” said Ndedi Bau, PLANOPAC boss.
Responding to some of the grievances, the representative of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and the Ministry of Fisheries, and Animal Industry, called on the farmers to exercise some more patience as Government will provide suitable replies to their plights. She added that the Government is aware of the issues raised and measures had been taking to ensure that such do not happen in the future.
“Seeds will be distributed on time, and seed producers will receive their money. On behalf of Government, I want to apologise for all inconveniences caused farmers. We shall provide the best responses in record time,” the representative said.
The Southwest Mini Agro-Pastoral Show is an annual agricultural event that takes place at the esplanade of the Buea Omnisport Stadium. It is an initiative of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and the Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries, and Animal Industry. It is aimed at showcasing farmers’ farm produce to the world. It also closes the farming season and provide a market platform for the sale of farmers’ goods.