The State-owned agro-industrial giant is fast becoming a shadow of itself following persistent attacks by armed separatist fighters on the installations and plantations of the corporation that employs over 20,000 Cameroonians, 90% of whom are Anglophones from the North West and South West Regions.
The Cameroon Development Corporation, CDC, has been badly hit by the ongoing socio-political crisis in the South West and North West Regions. The agro-industrial giant that employs over 20,000 workers (second employer after the State) has had its installations attacked and damaged by armed secessionist groups in the South West Region. Speaking on the National Radio on Sunday August 5, the General Manager of CDC, Frankline Ngoni Njie said “CDC is seriously hit by the ongoing crisis.” He said only 25 per cent of the corporation’s operational capacity is functioning. “Out of the 11 estates, none is functioning normally. None of our rubber estate is operating normally. Some have been shut down completely while others are operating timidly. For oil palm, only Dibuncha is operating relatively normal. Up till the end of June, there was relative calm in our banana estates but since 1st of July, banana sector is also hit. One of our park home in Musaka which processes banana from 2000 hectares of plantation was attacked and set ablaze,” he lamented.
Ngoni Njie equally revealed that the ultra-modern Illioni oil that ought to be at its maximum during this period of the year has been grounded. “We are operating at the point of zero at the Illioni/Boa plantations of about 3000 hectares productive area,” the General Manager stated. The Cameroon Development Corporation also indicated in the interview that the corporation used to inject about FCFA 2.2 billion into the local economy through salaries/wages and small scale holders and contracting jobs for local SMEs. Today, the situation is null as the corporation’s revenue sources which comes from the sale of its products are not potent, thus difficulties in paying salaries.
The General Manager decried the insecurity that reigns in the plantations perpetrated by Anglophone armed separatist fighters, causing several workers in different estates to flee. Some installations of the corporation are also attacked by the armed groups. CDC which is also a source of livelihood to the immediate environment where its plantations are found as well as small scale holders who sell to the corporation and Small and Medium-sized enterprises who gain contracts from CDC have been rendered jobless. The Anglophone patrimony is being destroyed by the same Anglophones. According to the General Manager of the agro-industrial giant, over 90 per cent of the workforce of the second employer after the government is from the two Anglophone regions.
The General Manager however appealed to the government to wade in a bail out the corporation. Ngoni Njie had earlier on appealed to the population where CDC installations are found to spare the corporation’s installations and plantations given that the enterprise is apolitical and recruits several thousands of Cameroonians who risk losing their jobs. The government, he admitted has been taking measures to bail out the corporation.