CAMEROON – The government of Cameroon and its financial partners have earmarked 417 billion F (US$698M) for the production and processing of wheat in the next five years.

Gabriel Mbaïrobe, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development validated the five-year development plan for this initiative on January 5 during a workshop in Mbankomo, in the Center region.

According to the minister, this plan aims to reduce imports of this cereal by 35% and produce nearly 350,000 tonnes of marketable wheat by 2028.

Cameroon produces less than one-fourth of the 1.6 million tons of wheat it needs each year, forcing it to depend on imports to meet the local demand.

In 2021, Cameroon imported 966,400 tonnes of wheat for a value of 182.5 billion F (US$305.5M), or almost a third of the volume of imports of agricultural products recorded that year; which makes it the second most consumed cereal in Cameroon after corn.

In 2022, the shortage worsened following Russia’s war on Ukraine which led to a 40 percent increase in the price of bread in the country.

Fast forward, wheat flour prices have already experienced two major increases in the local market following the reduction in the flow of imports in connection with the Russian-Ukrainian crisis and the increase in customs tariffs.

However, the Cameroonian government is confident that the county has a strong potential for the production and transformation of the wheat sector under the earmarked five-year initiative.

According to the executives, around thirty departments across the country are conducive to the development of this culture.

Additionally, the country has enough primary processing, with nine out of 12 milling companies operational with a capacity of more than one million tonnes per year for a demand of nearly 600,000 tonnes, according to Minader statistics.

Pastry bakers have also increased local bread production from 82 to 126 billion F (US$137M-US$21M) in 10 years.

The minister also revealed that the wheat milling and processing market has grown in recent years and now has five groups of players including artisanal bakeries, modern bakeries, cooking terminals, fast food establishments, and bread depots.

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