By Fai Cassian Ndi
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Lazare Essimi Mennye has installed members of the steering committee of the Grassfield Participatory and Decentralized Rural Development Project-GP DERUDEP Phase II. It was on February 12, 2014 at the Bamenda Congress Hall that Essimi Menye commissioned into office members of the Steering Committee and project management team of GP DERUDEP Phase II. The team headed by the Governor of the North West Region, Adolphe Lele L’Afrique is expected to steer the grand orientations of the project for the next five years. Besides, the project management team headed by Muluh Gregory also has the task to implement the various project components in the beneficiary communities. Unlike Phase I, Phase II of GP DERUDEP has sidelined some major production basins in the North West Region. The case of the Kumbo irish potato cluster, the Mbembe production basin and the high productive maize, beans of the Nkambe plateau which have not been taken into the project account continue to raise dusk. GP DERUDEP it should be recalled came into existence following studies conducted by MIDENO in the year 2000 which indicated low level of income in the rural areas. From 2004-2011, GP DERUDEP reached out to the rural poor by providing seed material to farmers, capacity building to community leaders, provision of potable water, classrooms for schools, community halls, water schemes, slaughter slabs etc. some of the projects have not yet been received by the communities. When Phase II was approved and protocol agreement was signed between the African Development Bank-ABD and the Cameroon Government, the rural poor were hoping to get the same largess but the project concept had change. Even though ABD and Cameroon government rated GP DERUDEP as the best project so far, development experts are of the opinion that the steering Committee of GP DERUDEP Phase II would have to work an extra mile to overcome the Santa syndrome that may likely chop its roots. This is so because the project lays a lot of emphasizes in the Santa area especially with the installation of an equipment pool at the former Santa Coffee Estate which has been in dispute. Notwithstanding, GP DERUDEP Phase I was initiated to alleviate poverty in the North West Region by 10% and with approval of Phase II, many had hoped that its spillover effect will reach the nocks and crannies of the Region. GP DERUDEP Phase II, as observed covers only some production basins in some council areas of the region. The council areas to benefit include, Widikum, Ndu, Zhoa, Santa and Tubah councils. Minister Essimi Menye said that the Steering Committee of the project plays the role of the governing body of the project making sure that government policy in the domain is strictly respect, while making sure that the project implementation unit charged with the execution of the project is living up to plans and expectation. According to the MINADER Minister, the Steering Committee has as functions to streamline project activities as well as follow the proper implementation to make sure that the norms are respected. As to the role of MIDENO in the implementation of the project, Essimi Menye was completely mute over it.
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