The State of Cameroon is preparing to allocate 50 billion, over five years, to the benefit of national cocoa and coffee producers. Administrator of the Coffee and Cocoa Sectors Development Fund (FODECC), Samuel Donatien Nengue unveils the main features of this new financing vehicle.
What is the origin of the subsidies that will be allocated to producers?
It should be noted from the outset that the Fund’s resources come from the export levy on cocoa and coffee, products resulting from fines resulting from the export of poor quality products, various contributions, donations and bequests of any kind. . These resources are collected by the Fund or intermediaries, paid fully and directly into the FODECC account opened with the Bank of Central African States (BEAC). Let us add that the payments, by the Fund, are made from accounts opened by the Administrator that I am with approved banking establishments. This is the place to point out that the Fund cannot contract loans and that its management is subject to technical, accounting and financial audits. The overall amount of the grants has not yet been determined. But we already know that Cameroon will invest 50 billion FCFA, over 5 years, in the financing of cocoa and coffee. It is important to underline that the subsidies given within the framework of the “Guichet Producers” are not made in cash. It is the conversion of a public donation in favor of the producer, but through agricultural inputs, fertilizers and other production needs expressed by the producers themselves. The infrastructures are not initially concerned, but it is expected that we will go as far as their subsidization. The FODECC strives to make subsidies directly available to the producer without any intermediation. He saves time, we make him responsible, he gains confidence, it costs less and he has more products.
Will mobile telephony certainly have a major role to play there?
We will effectively connect second generation agriculture to information and communication technologies. Our goal is to be as close as possible to the needs of the producer. To this end, the FODECC will set up a toll-free number allowing any producer, wherever he is, and equipped with a smartphone and a functional chip, to notify, inform and report. It is very important to underline that this toll-free number is gradually setting up what, tomorrow, will probably be carried by several sectoral administrations in terms of call centers with the key objective of providing initial responses in the event of request and intervention. ’emergency. With the toll-free number, we are firmly committed to a quality approach. In short, we prepare everything that can benefit the producer.
Are we talking about 15 banking establishments mobilized around the project …?
That’s right ! And microfinance institutions (EMF) are not left out. We have eight production basins and EMFs are sometimes installed on one or more basins. Therefore, all EMFs that have the quality will be mobilized as soon as they belong to a network supervised by a first-rate bank. The challenge is to bring the subsidies closer to the producer. Hence the consultation with mobile telephone operators, for money transfers and data exchange with our platform. I would point out, for all intents and purposes, that the resources mobilized by the “Producers’ Window” come from the export levy on cocoa and coffee, products resulting from fines resulting from the export of poor quality products, contributions various, donations and bequests of any kind.
Should there be competition in obtaining the subsidies?
I will be very clear: there cannot be competition for first-class subsidies. But the envelope is limited annually. This means concretely that the first come will be the first served. Gradually, the subsidy mechanism would like us to progress within the framework of the aid that is granted so that the subsidy benefits all producers equitably, at least the category 1 subsidy. We are obliged to play skillfully so that the same do not receive the subsidy from one year to the next. We have a mechanism for the progressive extension of the subsidy so that if it was used in year n, that it was used in another in n + 1. And so on. We will rely on electronics and database management to ensure this fairness is respected. On arrival, we have a monitoring-evaluation-audit mechanism to avoid duplication.
How will this “Guichet Producers” work in practice?
We have a community of bankers with which we negotiate the bankarization of the peasant world, by putting it around microfinance institutions and the banking system. This opens the way for them to multiple business opportunities. Once considered as full-fledged economic agents, we know that producers eligible for other types of financing will be able to cover their needs like any economic operator in national life. We negotiate with agro-dealers who are suppliers of agricultural inputs and small agricultural equipment and who will participate in the process of mobilizing equipment and inputs authorized by the subsidies. The producer will no longer need to travel long distances to be entitled to and benefit from what his plantation needs. Ultimately, the idea is for the decentralized services to participate, alongside us, in the analysis of the advisability of financing the producer, particularly for issues related to business plans. In addition, it will be a matter of supporting producers by providing advice in the context of the spreading of fertilizers, the fight against fungi and the use of small agricultural equipment that the various target groups may request.
From a strategic point of view, what is the desired end effect?
We want to anticipate the markets. The rhythm of the plantings must be followed and the plants must be supplied so that the grower derives the best possible benefit from them. Everything that is done is aimed at one thing: to give a better future to the cocoa and coffee producer who is at the start and end of the whole process. The goal is for it to produce enough, securing production which unfortunately is sometimes lost up to 50%. If he already manages to recover everything he produces, this is the first victory. The second victory is that the device should accompany it to improve the quality of the merchant product to come. Today, at the price he sells for his cocoa or his coffee, we know he is not the best of economic agents. The idea is to support him so that he sells his production better at reasonable prices. The price indications with the actors that have been received by members of the government recently show that we can go from 800 FCFA to 1600 FCFA per kg of cocoa.
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