RETHINKING WHEAT IMPORTATION IN CAMEROON: AN ESTIMATION OF LIKELY BENEFITS MISSED DUE TO IMPORTATION
Peter Ngek Shillie, Mary-Juliet Bime Egwu, Nji Mondi Boja
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited
This study was conducted to create a re-awakening of thinking in the subject area of wheat importation in Cameroon. The objectives of the study included: examining the production and importation level of wheat, estimating likely job creation potential and community welfare missed due to high importation of wheat and estimating revenue (from taxes) that could have been generated through personal income tax if local production was prioritized. Secondary data was used. Simple descriptive analysis tools building on data for 20 years 2000 to 2019, was used for analysis. Data employed for analysis was collected from online sites namely FAO, USDA, Macrotrends, and Knoema. This was after all efforts to obtain data from the National Institute of Statistics yielded no fruits. The data collected from online sites were averaged and the mean was used for analysis. Wheat production results showed that on average for the period studied, 0.84 thousand metric tonnes of wheat were produced annually in Cameroon. Importation figures showed that an average of 513.85 thousand metric tonnes were imported annually in Cameroon. This shows a huge gap between local production and consumption needs to be filled through importation. Regarding lost job creation potential, estimates indicated that about 246,413 jobs could have been created annually if local wheat production was prioritized over importation. These indicate that unemployment levels would have been much better in wheat-producing areas if this was the case. Estimates relating to revenue generation through personal income tax show that on average, 16,912.24MFCFA might have been missed annually for the period 2000 to 2019 due to the high importation of wheat. Overall, the results suggest that Cameroon is missing a lot by importing huge volumes of wheat. The study recommends that Cameroon should engage heavily in local wheat production given that the agro-ecological conditions are favorable for wheat production. Such an action will bring about significant positive changes in terms of local job creation, income generation, and welfare improvements to the inhabitants, especially in the farming communities.