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China-funded school boosts agriculture in Cameroon

XINHUA | Updated: 2023-02-08 08:16
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YAOUNDE — Growing up in a predominantly agrarian community in Cameroon, Junior Moudina fell in love with agriculture as a child but lacked the required skills. This situation changed when China constructed a technical and professional agricultural high school in his native town of Yabassi to provide relevant training to students.

When the school became operational in 2017, the 23-year-old was among the first batch of more than 200 students to enroll. "I would like to be one of the first to modernize agriculture in Cameroon," Moudina says of his motive. "The Chinese did a good job, because it's thanks to them that we have this training, and it's also thanks to them that we have access to the latest equipment."

Yabassi Technical and Professional Agricultural High School, a modern infrastructure in Yabassi, is a pioneering professional agricultural high school in the central African nation.

"When you arrive in Yabassi, what first catches your attention is the beautiful structure of the school, which is the fruit of the cooperation between Cameroon and China," says Jean Mirabeau Eba, mayor of Yabassi Council.

Boasting 78 hectares of practice farms, the school also has classrooms, workshops, laboratories, dormitories and recreational facilities. Equipment includes tractors, excavators, training platforms for engine mechanics and incubators for chickens. It offers courses in crop and animal farming, maintenance of agricultural equipment and processing and conservation of agricultural products.

Overall, it is among the top schools in the country, according to Louis David Njenjock Bang, principal of the school.

Agriculture is the mainstay of Cameroon's economy, engaging about 70 percent of the economically active population and accounting for about 80 percent of the nation's GDP, according to the country's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Cameroon aims to become an emerging nation in 2035 and is counting on agriculture to provide jobs and food for the population. The school is helping to foster a much-needed skilled workforce, says Bang.

In most agricultural firms in Cameroon, few workers have been trained professionally, Bang adds. "We offer them trained professionals," he says.

More than 500 students have graduated from the school. One of them is Timothee Le Vainqueur Dissionbi, who now works in a plantation company. He says that the training he received in the school helped propel his integration into the company where his work is to check and confirm the quality of products. "I feel at ease in my current position," the 20-year-old says. "I wish to thank the Chinese for constructing and equipping the school."

Bang shares the optimism, noting: "Our graduates easily find jobs with good salaries."

Moudina hopes to graduate this year and is already excited about what awaits him. "After studying here, I realized that I could become my own boss, do my own things and realize my dream in agriculture."

Another student, Monthe Memba, has a more holistic dream. "Thanks to this training, we can change the world," says the 19-year-old, while watering crops at the practice farm of the school.

"Unemployed people can find employment in agriculture. We can create agricultural enterprises to provide jobs to young Cameroonians."

Such ambitions from the students are valid, but training needs to be intensified "for excellent results", says Bang.

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