The blueprint for this groundbreaking collaboration comes in the form of a proposed fertilizer manufacturing plant, a game-changing endeavor that promises to reshape the landscape of trade, bolster self-sufficiency, and cultivate prosperity in both nations.
The project was disclosed by Anatoly Bashkin, the Russian ambassador to Cameroon, during an audience with Agriculture Minister Gabriel Mbairobe.
According to Bashkin, if the project materializes, Russia will no longer be an exporter of this agricultural input to Cameroon, but a local producer.
Russia is Cameroon’s leading fertilizer supplier with an impressive 43% market share according to figures published by the National Institute of Statistics (INS), while China contributes 11%.
In that context, the creation of a Russian fertilizer manufacturing unit in Cameroon will greatly improve Cameroon’s trade balance, which has been negative for years now.
Amidst global conflicts and the aftermath of the Russia-Ukraine escalation, Cameroon’s agricultural landscape bore the brunt of soaring fertilizer prices.
To avert a crisis and ensure agricultural yields remain unhampered, the Cameroonian government rolled out a CFAF14 billion (US$23M) subsidy, hence, Russia’s plans for a local fertilizer manufacturing unit align seamlessly with the nation’s quest to stabilize prices and ensure a robust harvest.
Recently, projects to build fertilizer manufacturing plants in Cameroon have been slow to materialize. For instance, the CFAF1,250 billion project (in Limbé, Southwest Cameroon) announced by German company Ferrostaal some ten years ago is yet to materialize.
The delays, according to the Ministry of Economy are hampered by the price of the gas on offer, which makes the project unprofitable.
Speaking before the National Assembly on June 30, 2023, during an oral question session with members of the government, Fuh Calistus Gentry, Acting Minister of Industry, announced that three other projects of the same type were in the pipeline in the country.
However, he did not say when they would start. In the meantime, he added, to avoid a drop in agricultural yields, that’s why the Cameroon government has launched a subsidy program to halt escalating fertilizer prices.