Tuesday, 4th July 2017, saw the graduation of twenty-one young Cameroonians, who received end-of-course certificates following three months of training at the CCIMC’s Pilot Incubation Centre (PIC) located in Bonaberi. During their training, these hard-working youngsters received holistic training in the many contours of small-business management and agricultural produce processing.
This crop of graduands is the third batch of incubates coming out of the PIC, and came to swell the number of young entrepreneurs already trained at the PIC to eighty-one. The President of the Cameroon Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Crafts (CCIMC), Mr. Christophe Eken, disclosed that his institution hoped to churn out fifty-nine more incubates by the end of 2017, lauding the graduands for their determination and the 100% success recorded at the final evaluation. He cautioned them against resting on their laurels, for their certificates were only a new step in the future of their careers, which he hoped would see them belong to the country’s community of agro-industrialists in the years ahead.
Following this training, some of the young entrepreneurs will be given assistance to set up small processing plants while others will be employed at the CIP. The PIC was created in 2008 owing not only to the guidelines of the President of the Republic, H.E. Paul Biya, but also by virtue of the fact that one of the statutory missions of the CCIMC consists in supporting enterprise creation and project bearers as well as promoting the culture of entrepreneurship in Cameroon, thereby promoting youth self-employment.
Assistance given to the young people will lead to enterprise creation, acquisition (with the support of micro-finance institutions) of basic equipment for processing agricultural produce, and follow-up in the development of these very small enterprises. It follows that in the domain of cassava transformation, the PIC’s specialty, these graduands will engage in the processing of cassava into ready-to-eat, ready-to-cook or ready-to-serve products (chips, semolina and flour, among others).
It is worthy of note that the PIC has increasingly gained considerable fame through its various training activities, to the extent that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MINADER) and that of Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Industries (MINEPIA), in selecting prospective incubators in 2014, chose it and merged it into a consortium with the Technical College of Agriculture in Dibombari to train and support bearers of economic initiatives in the agropastoral sphere in the Littoral Region.
The PIC enjoys the support of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) through the government-initiated Youth Agropastoral Entrepreneurship Promotion Programme (PEA-Jeunes in French), which had its own set of graduands for the ceremony of the day. Also among funders of the PIC are the government of Cameroon and the Indian government implementing through ICRISAT (International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics), which probably explains the presence of the Mayor of Douala IV, the administration of the Littoral Region represented by the Secretary-General deputising for the Littoral Governor and the Consul General of India to Cameroon, H.E. Ravi Kumar.
By the way, the PIC is, with support from ICRISAT and others, being transformed into a huge processing plant/incubator on a 1 hectare piece of land. Construction work is going on in the new premises of what will be known as the Food Processing Business Incubator Centre (FPBIC) in Boadibo.
The CCIMC President announced that the CCIMC will not relent in the delivery of vocational training to the youth through the CIP. This resolve may explain why more basic and applied research is being carried out and why partnership agreements are being signed with three state universities and ministries, the most recent being that signed with the Ministry of Employment and Vocational.
SOME STRONG TIMES OF THE CEREMONY