Cameroon’s biggest exporter of banana, rubber and other fine products, has recently experienced a drop in exports. In August this year, the Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC) exported only 1,488 tons of banana. This marks its worst export performance in one month since 2005, according to the Cameroon Banana Association (ASSOBACAM). The volume is also just over six times less than the volume exported in August last year (8,560).
During the period under review, CDC slightly exceeded the volume exported by Boh Plantations (Bpl) which stood at 1,164 tons. Meanwhile, the banana market leader Haut Penja Plantation Company (PHP) exported 12,261 tons.
About the Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC)
The Cameroon Development Corporation is an Agro-Industrial Complex that grows, processes and markets tropical export crops. Its major products include banana, semi-finished rubber, palm oil and palm kernel.
Currently, its plantations cover a total of approximately 42, 000 hectares of land, with 33, 000 mature and of production stage. The corporation also constitutes a workforce of over 22,036 employees, including temporary workers. This makes it the second highest employer after the state of Cameroon.
Effects of the Anglophone crisis on the corporation
Sources said Cameroon Development Corporation’s poor performance is due to Anglophone separatists’ violent protests. This has been ongoing for more than a year in the South-West region of Cameroon, where CDC owns its plantations. The situation led the company to suspend operations, leaving employees jobless. The management of the company made it known that at least five thousand workers of CDC could lose their jobs. This was on June 8 during a meeting with Staff Representatives and Trade Unionists where the state of the corporation was presented and proposals made to caution the adverse effects of the current crisis.
“The year 2017 was not good for the Corporation. 2018 started with glimmers of hope in the Banana Group, as well as, an improvement in the Group Oil Palm. However, the situation might be gloomy in the nearest future if the crisis persists especially in the South West Region where the CDC mostly operates,” CDC’s General Manager Franklin Njie said.
“Nine estates including Boa, Illoani Mill, Illoani Estate, Mbonge, Mukonje, Malende, Mungo, Meanja, and Tombel are not operational. There is no guarantee of selling palm oil next year, Illoani Mill is at zero production since the month of April, Mondoni is partially functioning and the security of workers is a major concern,” the General Manager explained.
Management’s efforts to handle the situation
To avoid any misunderstandings, the General Manager explained to the staff representatives that their salaries would witness deductions as provided by the law if the crisis persists. As a result, the staff representatives formed a committee to formulate their grievances and present to the appropriate quarters.
However, in a statement of assurance, management explained that ten of their estates are almost entirely shut down. Consequently, putting over five thousand jobs at risk. The workers are to remain calm as management is doing all it takes to ensure that things unfold in their best interest.
“We are hopeful that the powers will do all that is necessary to keep CDC afloat,” they explained.
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