By Elias Ntungwe Ngalame in Yaounde, Cameroon
The construction of refrigerated warehouses and acquisition of refrigerated transportation vans in Cameroon’s livestock and fish market has significantly improved trade and help fight the effect of post harvest loss in drought stricken northern region of the country. The project government says hence ensures constant supply of fish and meat to the region, manage drought risks like malnutrition to protect livelihoods and reduce vulnerability especially among children and women.
The modern fish and meat conservation infrastructure worth some FCFA 10 billion constructed at the Etoudi cattle market-Yaounde in 2014 has facilitated production and trade in the livestock and fisheries sectors in the country and beyond, officials say.
Cameroon’s minister of fisheries and livestock say with the modern conservation infrastructure, Cameroon could become the future home of a regional food reserve that can offset shortfalls where production is weaker, such as in the neighbouring arid Sahel countries.
The new production and trade chain farmers say, has not only added value to livestock products, ensure hygiene and sanitation in the handling of the products before reaching the consumers but has also helped narrowed the gap in livestock and fish shortage in the region triggered due to prolonged drought and insecurity from Boko Haram attacks.
The economic, social and environmental impacts of drought are huge in Cameroon’s Northern region and neigbouring Sahel countries with heavy costs and losses incurred that threatens to undermine development gains realized over the years, government officials say.
Visiting the modern conservation infrastructure recently, Cameroon’s Prime Minister Philemon Yang said the fisheries and livestock sectors have benefited significantly in the three-year emergency development plan announced Cameroon’s Head of State Paul Biya at the 2011 agriculture show in Ebolowa.
The livestock and fisheries production and trade scheme according to the Project Coordinator, Yiwe Roger, has seen the construction and equipping of a 600 cubic metres refrigerated warehouse with a storage capacity of 10.000 carcasses of 200kg.
The major warehouse according to the coordinator measures some 42.67m in length, 35.65m width and a height of 7m.
The refrigerated warehouse contains four refrigerated compartments ranging between 0°C to -25° C. It also contains a cold tunnel of -30° C as well as an anti refrigerated chamber of +15°C for the preservation and storage of beef, pork and chicken to meet the high demand in countries in the CEMAC region like Gabon, Chad, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea etc.