Rural Sector : Bolstering The Economic Stimulus

Developing the rural sector which entails improving the quality of life and economic well-being of people living therein, who are often relatively isolated and sparsely populated, remains one of the main goals of any visionary government. Experts have held it time and again that sustainable rural development is vital to the economic, social and environmental viability of any nation. Giving the rural sector the needed boost is therefore essential for poverty eradication given that it usually centers on the proper use of land-intensive natural resources such as agriculture and forestry. 
A healthy and dynamic agricultural sector is arguably an important foundation of rural development as it generates strong linkages to other economic sectors. Raw materials for most industries are essentially agro-pastoral and people need to eat to their satisfaction to be creative in any sector of activity that adds value to national life. Simply put; the growth of any economy starts with being able to feed its citizen with little or no pressure and Cameroon which has seemingly negotiated an irreversible bend towards becoming a middle-income economy cannot; in fact, should not attempt to skip any step; not even the strategic rural sector on which any other growth pillar stands. One doesn’t need to be an expert to know that developing the rural area balances socio-economic growth and contributes to reducing poverty in urban areas. For, a developed rural area decreases excessive rural exodus. 
Little wonder Cameroon in almost all her development blueprints has almost always laid emphasis on this very important sector of the national economy even though palpable results still leave much to be desired. Farm-to-market roads, industrial agro-pastoral production, local processing of farm produce, sufficient and affordable energy and telecommunications services are still more on paper than reality. Farms and farmers remain old, the ancient and outdated farming methods are still there, land is still family-owned with all the trouble that succession brings and the end result is that agriculture continues to be largely subsistent. 
To say the least, the gap between the rural and urban areas in terms of basic lives’ necessities is rather widening. The level of rural electrification, for instance, is not encouraging and inhabitants who depend on energy to go about their activities like iron and fine woodwork are bound to look elsewhere. Even youngsters who manage to grow more crops than they can consume helplessly watch as the surpluses rot in farms for want of roads to transport them to needy areas for better sales or at least processing means which facilitates storage. The damaging consequences are that rural areas are more and more being emptied of their dynamic human resources who would have better life there as they are increasingly trooping into urban areas sometimes just to face the sad reality of town life. This leaves the rural areas with very old and young people who are themselves dependents unfortunately with sometimes no one to lean on. Meanwhile in towns, the massive influx pushes many into slumps and to other life-threatening areas where they live under horrible conditions. All these pose health and security problems wherein the State spends huge scarce resources to contain. 
The already two-year-old 2020-2030 National Development Strategy which has as overall objective to structurally transform the economy has a dream in the rural world, hoping to succeed where similar initiatives have failed. The population’s anxiety to see results is no doubt growing as the days go by. More so as the ten-year development vision re-echoes agricultural revolution, an old vision which has sadly remained at the level of a slogan over the years. Target is said to significantly reduce rural poverty through increased productivity by intensifying agro-industrial activities and modernizing farms driven by demand from agribusiness industries. It is heartwarming learning that emphasis will be placed on the rice, maize, cocoa/coffee, cotton, sugar cane, palm nuts, rubber, sorghum, cassava, potato, plantain, milk, honey, fish, meat, timber and non-timber forest products sub-sectors. These are highly consumed goods and they as well have the potential to improve the livelihood of those in the developing chain.  Increasing the productivity and competitiveness of the agricultural products, facilitating access to land, equipment and production infrastructure as well as structuring and building the capacities of actors in the sector are what rural dwellers have been craving for. There is a lot to gain should such a dream become true. Results are awaited!
Holding an assessment session to evaluate the path c...



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