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Sunday, May 8, 2016

Who Wants to Destroy the Tadu Dairy Cooperative Society?


Tongues are still waging in Kumbo, Bui Division over the unprecedented incident that almost created a stalemate at the Tadu Dairy Cooperative Society-TDCS. Matter came to a head few days ago when some crop farmers took some dairy cows to the Kumbo council cattle paddock on grounds that the cows had destroyed their crops. The logjam nearly took control of the lone processing industry in Bui Division and one of the most vibrant cooperative societies in the North West Region. TDCS which was at the brinks of an explosion, now pulsate in calm and serenity. This follows a restructuring mission from the Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Industries to address crisis apparently masterminded by none members of the cooperatives. So immaculate were the issues addressed that as the management of TDCS was trying to decipher the problem, rumours made rounds in the Division that the 100 hectares of land allocated to the cooperative was being transformed into a private estate by its present management.
The rumours which according to what we gathered were politically motivated has created an atmosphere of uncertainty amongst inhabitants of Tadu in Kumbo. Besides, some members of the community went as far as questioning why and how the TDCS acquired land for dairy ranching from SODEPA and not even a single hectare of land was allocated to farmers. Some community members went as far as pointing accusing fingers at Shang Lawrence, the man who founded the Tadu Dairy Cooperative Society that he is processing documents to own the land allocated for TDCS.
When contacted, Shang Lawrence refuted the allegations and said they were baseless. According to Shang Lawrence, TDCS dairy cows were transferred to Kumbo on grounds that they allegedly destroy crops and they all negotiated for the release of the animals. “We had to negotiate given that some of the animals were so badly treated and were showing signs of stress. You dairy animals are so delicate”. He continued that when the animals were released, TDCS also contacted the competent authorities to investigate into the alleged crop destruction. On the issue of trying to transform TDCS land into private estate, he debunked it and added that the Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Industries, had allocated only 100 ha of the 2000 ha of land for dairy farming and see no reason why farmers cannot equally apply to the same ministry for land. He disclosed that this controversy is coming when experts from the Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Industries had spent days in TDCS carrying out restructuring. And that TDCS was being stratified to meet present day challenges yet there is a widespread camouflage of farmer/grazer conflict. “Of late, we paid FCFA 350.000 to some farmers that our animals destroyed irish potatoes, but they later harvested close to 20 bags on the same plot”. Shang Lawrence also revealed that they are diversified versions on the current incident. “Some members of the communities say our animals were caught on the road while others say they were caught on the farm before being taken to Kumbo council”, he concluded. Notwithstanding the same rumours went wild intoxicating the population that the community had benefited nothing from TDCS. Shang Lawrence while reacting to the influence peddlers reechoed that if there is electricity in the area its thanks to the TDCS and that the cooperative had provided pipe borne water and stand taps as well as opened up farms to market roads. A school of thought holds that the rumours are masterminded by some elite who see nothing good in anything except in the form of bread.
It should be recalled that the Minister of Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Industries Minister, Dr Aboubakar Sarki has inaugurated a milk processing unit in Tadu in 2010. This processing unit is the lone industry in Bui Division.
Created on November 15, 1990, the Tadu Dairy Cooperative Society, TDCS, was born from collaboration between Land O’Lakes Inc. in the USA and cattle breeders of the Banso highlands of Cameroon, to function as a multipurpose cooperative that would provide its members with access to new breeds, improved production practices and modern value adding technologies. This collaboration between TDCS and USAID/Land O’Lakes was also geared towards developing quantity milk production ranging from developing collection channels, processing and marketing programme. Since then TDCS has benefited from capacity-building programmes, especially in the training members of the cooperative in the USA on artificial insemination. Seeing the importance of TDCS the Cameroon government through the HIPC programme also funded the cooperative and the Livestock Ministry also endorsed of the initiative as a poverty alleviation programme reasons why the Minister inaugurated the milk processing factory and promised more support and donated a tractor and accessories to the TDCS. Bui Division statistically is third largest in terms of animal breeding in the North West Region and first in terms of dairy cattle given the presence of TDCS. An estimated 53,523 cattle and 300 dairy have been supplying milk to the factory and several families look to dairy farming as the most reliable source of income.


 (Do Not Miss Part II, coming up soon)

When News Breaks Out, We Break In. (The 2014 Bloggies Finalist)

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