Lecturer at the University of Douala, the economist speaks out on the Mirap, nine after its creation.
By Jenner Onana
Nine years after its creation , and in view of the current situation, can we say that the objectives of the Mirap have been achieved?
The Mirap is a structure for alerting, purchasing, importing and stocking consumer products with a view to supplying the market under the best conditions. It is deployed from time to time in the cities of Douala, Yaoundé but also the cities of other regions such as the Septentrion, the East and the South which have witness stores where the products are often sold at lower cost in reference to the prices. practiced in the markets. Today, Mirap has nearly 1 300 producer organizations which at least once supply the market for around 100 tonnes of food. These figures are insufficient in the context of the mission assigned to this establishment. We can therefore conclude that the results of this structure are mixed. Much remains to be done, and the housewife cannot always feel the effects of the efforts made by those responsible to achieve their goal.
During containment, the Mirap was eagerly awaited given that the movements of populations were limited. At this level can we also conclude that it was about another failure?
During the confinement period, the Mirap was seen deploying on the ground. She intervened to try to thwart the traders who distinguished themselves by acts of overbidding in the various markets. Unfortunately, the supply was far less than the demand; no sooner were the counters fully stocked than they automatically emptied, leaving several households in need. The movement restriction measures (although short-lived) have resulted in higher prices for products in the market. This scarcity of products unfortunately undermined the mission of the Mirap, which was hardly noticeable in the field.
Is it possible to fight against the high cost of living by organizing periodic markets in certain regions of the country only?
The Mirap is deployed from time to time in the cities of Douala, Yaoundé but also in other cities: regions of the North, East and South. In its management, it organizes periodic markets. However, demand is regular and even increases according to the population. In this sense, the Mirap cannot fully play its role over time. It must constantly and systematically be deployed to supply the stores. To do this, it must forge partnerships with more producers in high production areas. But these areas are generally very isolated.
Can we justify the Mirap’s difficulties by the irregularity or even the lack of funding?
The Mirap operates thanks to a subsidy of 800 million CFA francs each year. In 2018 for example the turnover was close to 27 billion Fcfa. It should be noted that this amount is distributed among all producer organizations. If we consider the missions of the Mirap and the need for a larger deployment, we must provide funding to this structure and rethink the management mode of this type of organization in Cameroon in general. There is also a need for monitoring and control of resources as well as the actions of leaders.
Shouldn’t we close this structure which, it seems, is budget-intensive?
Closing Mirap is not a solution, you just have to review how it works and reorient the allocation of resources. Investments must be made to make it easier for households to access food which is deteriorating in remote and often very isolated areas. Households who manage to get their supplies from Mirap save 09 to 15% of their income allocated to consumption. Rather, this structure should be supported in achieving its mission by setting up favorable mechanisms and working in synergy with all the players in the production chain. Also, a control of resources and achievements must be carried out each year by the competent bodies.
How can we effectively fight against the high cost of living in Cameroon?
It is quite simply necessary to boost the productive apparatus by putting in place a real policy making it possible to support the production of food products and especially their transport to the markets. At a minimum, it is necessary to reach the level where local demand can be met by supply. However, we find that most often the local production, which is not even sufficient for the population, is channeled to other countries in the sub-region where the products are sold cheaply. We must therefore act on production by implementing a favorable policy and providing material, intangible, financial support and above all in the context of supporting producers. There is also a need for an incentive policy for young people which does not always integrate this sector of activity into its development plans.
This article was written and posted first by Mutations