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February 2024

Cameroon takes preemptive measures to safeguard rice supply amid global scarcity and rising import prices

(Business in Cameroon) – In a letter dated January 11, Minister of Trade Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana has instructed regional governors to “reactivate, until further notice, the ban on rice re-exportation” in light of “internal food security” concerns. This move is part of the government’s proactive efforts to ensure a stable supply of this crucial food item amid the current global rice scarcity and rising import prices.

The government’s objective is to avert any potential rice shortage, especially given the suspension of rice exports by India, which accounts for over 40% of global cereal exports. Additionally, this measure aims to counter deceptive practices by certain Cameroonian traders that could disrupt the local availability of rice in markets.

On December 5, Minister Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana announced discussions with the African representative of Amir Chand Jagdish Kumar Export Ltd, an Indian company specializing in the production, processing, and marketing of Indian rice. The company proposed facilitating the shipment of 190,000 tons of non-basmati white rice, authorized by India for Cameroon, at competitive prices. This significant delivery, equivalent to nearly four months of local consumption, is anticipated to secure market stability. However, official confirmation of the shipment’s arrival is pending.

The National Institute of Statistics (INS) highlights a significant issue where rice, imported for local consumption, is illicitly re-exported. Cameroonian traders exploit this situation to fuel smuggling routes, particularly to Nigeria, where rice faces high tariffs to encourage domestic production. Other neighboring countries, such as Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, also become recipients of rice re-exported by Cameroonian traders. In 2019, the INS estimated that around 332,300 tons of rice were re-exported, amounting to around CFA87 billion. This occurs against the backdrop of Cameroon’s ongoing struggle to meet the national demand, which is estimated at 576,949 tons annually, while domestic production hovers around 150,000 tons. QR Code

Published Date: January 17, 2024

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