By Akanimo Sampson
The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) is currently giving a helping hand to some farmers’ associations in Cameroon.
Like other countries in the world, Cameroon is at the moment grappling with the effect of the coronavirus, having recorded over 6,000 cases so far.
Despite the ravaging effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, IITA-Cameroon Is collaboratING with the Technical Center for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) to give a helping hand to members of some farmers’ associations situated in Mbalmayo and Lendon ll within the Centre Region of Cameroon.
The exercise began in Mbalmayo where the starch sedimentation structure was officially handed over to Mrs Nnomendoue Alvine, President of the SCOOPMAN cooperative, which is involved with producing cassava roots and transforming it into cassava starch.
During the handover, Chibikom Richard, the project coordinator for MANIOC 21 in IITA-Cameroon, explained how starch is produced from the slurry (suspension of water and starch) where water separates from the starch in a settling channel or tank.
The second part of the exercise was the inauguration of a water supply system for the cooperative UGILE, headed by Mbassi Fabienne, at Lendon ll, a village in the Centre Region.
The water supply system is an infrastructure belt used for the collection, treatment, storage, and distribution of water to facilitate processing.
The objectives of these cooperatives align with the vision of the IITA project dubbed MANIOC 21, which aims to improve the livelihood of farmers by enhancing food production and promoting job creation for women and youth through the development of innovative and sustainable cassava business models.
Both cooperatives, which have been existing for more than 20 years, have a membership of 561 farmers.
The IITA-Cameroon Station Administrator, Simila Boubakari, speaking on both occasions, appreciated the work of the cooperatives. He underscored the importance of MANIOC 21 and the role played by IITA as the technical partner.
Also, he challenged members to take care of the facilities handed over to them, emphasizing that the work done in the cooperatives should continue to serve as an example in Cameroon and Central Africa as a whole.
Boubakari encouraged members to follow government instructions and take the necessary measures against the present pandemic so that, in the long run, the cooperatives can achieve their objectives.