Hopes of satisfying growing national demand increases as more farmers pick up the cultivation of strawberry in Cameroon.
It has been widely believed that strawberry cannot grow in Cameroon. This is the myth that accounts for the scarcity of strawberry farmers in Cameroon. This scarcity has created an economic vacuum where demand has exceeded supply.
Roland Fomundam, CEO of Green- House Ventures, a company specialised in modern agricultural techniques, is however bridging the gap by carrying out mass cultivation of the nutritious fruit. This, in addition to other fruits and vegetables such as beetroots, cucumbers and tomatoes.
For years now, consumers of strawberry in the country have been frustrated by the lack of this exotic fruit in the market. They blame this on the lukewarm nature of local farmers towards the cultivation of the crop. The majority of farmers believe that such crops cannot do well on Cameroonian soil. Market analyses show that 90% of strawberry in the Cameroonian market is imported, and this has made it difficult for locals to relish consuming this product.
Roland Fomundam, a US-trained agricultural engineer, however, believes that Cameroonian soil can grow a wide range of exotic fruits and vegetables. “We have the best terrain and the best climate and we can very much grow almost everything,” he said. He has thus taken the bull by the horn and is doing what many of his colleagues are scared to do. “Demand is still very high at the moment, but we hope that by December 2019, our production rate will exceed or fully meet local demand. Currently, about three farmers are involved in the cultivation of strawberries in Cameroon, two of whom are based in the West Region,” he disclosed. Roland Fomundam also looks forward to train and engage more Cameroonian youths in strawberry cultivation in the years ahead. This new venture will definitely help to boost supply as the rush for this bright red, juicy and sweet fruit has been on a steady rise in Cameroon in recent times, thanks to its nutritional and health benefits. Strawberries are very rich in antioxidants which help prevent heart diseases, cancer and controls blood sugar. They are also rich in vitamins which are good for skin health and immunity. The consumption of this fruit is popular among women who generally watch their fats and carbohydrate intake.