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Youth Agro-pastoral Programme Included In IFAD Strategy 

By Nformi Sonde Kinsai

A new country strategy paper elaborated by the International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, spelling out its domain of intervention in Cameroon for the period 2015 to 2019, has included the national Youth Agro-Pastoral Entrepreneurship Programme.
The programme, which is under the tutelage of the Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development, MINADER; and Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Industries, MINEPIA, adds to the funding of the rural world and support to the rice and onion sectors by IFAD in Cameroon.

The revised strategy, which was elaborated in a participatory manner, was validated after a few amendments were effected on the document during a consultation workshop of stakeholders at the Yaounde Mont Febe Hotel on February 10.
The Country Representative of IFAD for Cameroon, Bernard M. Hien, told participants the revised document re-enforces partnership with Cameroon as well as the diversification of IFAD investments in the country.
“Your presence is a demonstration of the eloquent importance you attach to the strengthening of collaboration between the Government and IFAD; and to the identification opportunities of collaboration with other technical and funding partners, producers’ organisations, youth organisations and the private sector,” he stated.

Hien said IFAD had moved away from only providing funding to member states and other stakeholders for agricultural projects and rural development projects in a general manner, to playing a more increasing role in the preparation and supervision of the projects funded. He said the shift in the role which came with the introduction of the country strategy in 1998 was a logical response to the cultural change that was observed.
“Such a change in approach was brought about by the need to improve on the global performance in regards to its engagement in member countries, pay more attention to results, align with national policies as well as the harmonisation of approaches and procedures,” Hien maintained.

He highlighted the characteristics of the new country strategy geared at enabling the poor rural people to grow and sell more food, increase their incomes and determine the direction of their own lives. These characteristics include, amongst others: the nature of IFAD’s engagement, pertinence of its involvement in line with its mission and its comparative advantage in matters of rural agricultural development.
Hien remarked that IFAD is counting on its comparative advantage to identify options that could add value to the Growth and Employment Strategy Paper while being coherent in its mission of reducing rural poverty.
“I want to particularly salute the involvement of officials of the Ministries of Agriculture and Livestock who personally invested in the preparation of a major project – the Agro-pastoral Entrepreneurship Promotion Programme of the Youth; which will be put in place within the framework of this cooperation…” Hien stated.

He disclosed that for the new strategy, particular emphasis would be on the entrepreneurship dimension of the intervention where small agricultural producers must go further to produce beyond their basic needs in order to take the surplus to the market. He said it is through this that producers themselves will be encouraged by the profits generated. Hien stated that the new scope of cooperation is also going to take into account the negative effects of climate change in collaboration with the Ministry in charge of the Environment.

While calling on participants to be frank in their discussion by exposing what went wrong with the projects so that corrections would be made in future ones, the Director of North-South Cooperation in MINEPAT, Dieudonne Takuo, hailed the UN agencies for the multi-faceted support they are offering Government to improve on the living conditions of the rural poor.

He called on the stakeholders to draw lessons from the successes and pitfalls of the 2007 to 2012 project cycle of IFAD that were presented during the workshop in order to ensure that the new strategy spanning 2015 to 2019 registers resounding success.
IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialised UN agency based in Rome, Italy, the UN Food and Agricultural hub. It is a unique partnership of 172 member states. It has been financing projects in Cameroon since 1981 and has an office that covers Cameroon and Gabon.

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