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Cameroon’s Second Largest Employer Crippled by Separatist Conflict

LIMBE, CAMEROON VOA | Cameroon’s second largest employer, the Cameroon Development Corporation, says it has been paralyzed by the separatist conflict in the country’s English-speaking regions. The agricultural giant has not been able to pay its staff for a year because of falling production and revenue.

The village of Meanja used to be a banana production center in Cameroon’s English-speaking southwest.

Two years ago, 2,000 people lived here, and many worked for the Cameroon Development Corporation’s banana production unit.

But these days, a visiting reporter sees only abandoned houses, empty schools, and silent factories.

Oliver Kogue worked at the Meanja banana factory but says security threats forced them to shut down. Armed separatists attacked the factory in 2017, he says, killing four workers and wounding scores of others.

“This production unit produces averagely 60 tons of banana daily and after this attack, work has ceased. Workers escaped for their dear lives,” Kogue said. “Five-hundred-and-60 workers were working in this particular section. In the course of stopping work we have deprived 560 workers from employment.”

Parents listen as education officials encourage them enroll their children school, in Ashigashia, Cameroon, April 15, 2019.

Students in Cameroon Separatist Areas Urged to Go Back to School
Most schools closed since the start of the separatist war because of attacks, abductions
The Cameroon Development Corporation is the central African country’s second largest employer and runs banana, palm oil, and rubber plantations.

But the three-year conflict between Anglophone rebels and government troops has forced the CDC to close farms and factories across the western English-speaking regions.

Cameroon Agriculture minister Gabriel Mbairobe, Buea, Cameroon, July 18, 2019. ( M. Kindzeka, VOA)
CDC general manager Franklin Ngoni Njie says more than half of his 20,000 workers – fearing attacks – refuse to work, while the remainder work only part-time.

“If you look at the economy of the area, what else do we have? CDC every month directly in form of salaries and wages is 2.2 billion {CFA} francs every month,” Njie said. “All of that activity is dead.”

Cameroon’s agriculture minister, Gabriel Mbairobe, says the government is negotiating with staff to resume work. He says the government will assure their safety and settle the past year of unpaid salaries.

“I will like to appreciate the willingness of all workers to resume work,” Mbairobe said. “I can assure them that the government will take all the measures to pay their salary arrears and to give money so that the plantations and the factory will be back in activity.”

The conflict in Cameroon’s English-speaking regions was sparked in 2016 by protests against discrimination from the country’s French-speaking majority in education and the justice system.

The government responded with a crackdown and armed separatists fought back.

The rebels consider state-run companies such as the CDC and institutions such as schools legitimate targets.

Last month, the Cameroon Employers Association said rebel fighters had transformed many CDC plantations into training grounds.

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  1. There is no anglophone conflict

  2. The press, is free to blow the Biya war, blaming SC and labelling us whatever names
    they can see in a dictionary and their imaginations. Don`t SC, have a right to complain
    or protest the ills of `one and indivisible` union? When the SC youths were running and
    calling on gov`t to see reason to show concern, did they not carry peace plants as their
    symbol? Was it necessary then, that Mr. Biya should solve the problem with military
    brute force from his BIR? The training that his BIR received from US / German technical
    training, has not been wasted, eventhough, they are withdrawing today and pretending,
    that this isn`t the time to stay on.
    We can be labeled whatever name or accused of everything, only the killing of every
    SC, will solve it.

  3. It is very easy to start a war.
    However, once started, you have no way of knowing HOW and WHEN it will end.
    Dictator Biya FOOLISHLY started his SH*THOLE war. His terrorist soldiers cannot tell him HOW and WHEN the war might end.
    Believe me or not, I can authoritatively tell Dictator Biya WHEN the war will end. The war will after the Anglophone Question has been COMPLETELY, TOTALLY, IRREVERSIBLY and UNCONDITIONALLY been resolved.
    Dictator Biya should, therefore, stop wasting his precious time and energy:
    1. BEGGING Amba boys to drop weapons.
    2. banning the words ANGLOPHONE and FRANCOPHONE
    3. creating a Ministry of living together
    4. appointing an Anglophone ex-convict as minister
    5. introducing a FAKE Decentralisation
    6. etc.
    COSMETIC measures can NEVER EVER stop the UNSTOPPABLE war.

    • “….. the government is negotiating with staff to resume work. He says the government will assure their safety…..” ??????

      Only a fool will go back to work based on the empty promise of the government. The government can NEVER assure the security of the workers.

      This same government:

      1. vowed to guarantee the security of students
      2. swore to hold elections in 2019
      3. promised to be ready for AFCON19
      4. pledged to defeat Amba boys latest in 2017
      5. etc


      The so-called “one and indivisible” LRC is ruled by the most corrupt, dishonest, faithless, deceitful, despicable, misleading, cunning, arrogant and insensitive people in this world.

      Any person, therefore, who takes the empty promises of the GOC seriously will be doing so at his/her own peril

  4. runtown Kampala

    hahahaha ? seriously this government amazes me everyday .ok lets put it dis way : you are calling for workers to resume work in de middle of a war and promising them their security where as all they are asking is a peaceful settlement of this situation we are into today ,so you will rather we risk our life for a gorverment that do not care about us just to make sure your factory is operational while you ignor the way forward to solve situation we are facing tod

  5. Camer believer (Colby)

    I better understand why you folks are denying education to children in the NW/SW silly comments like this tell everything about you after all how can someone gives what he don’t have?

  6. Personally I dont mind if the children return to school. The purpose of the boycott has been met.
    Exposure to international media

  7. The tale of 2 countries. French for la ripoublique francophone and English for Ambazonia. All the data, the debates, the decay are FRENCH. 98% is FRENCH and the anglophones are barely having peanuts in the 60 years slavery. NO SLAVERY IN 2019. It is a shame to all the genociders of la ripoublique and their blackleg agents.

    60 ans d’exploitation des ressources des Southern Cameroons. 60 ans de viols, de pillages, de tortures, de médiocrités contre le peuple de l’Ambazonie.

    The SPIRIT of FREEDOM lives in all AMBAZONIANS.The SPIRIT to denounce injustice, fight against oppression, corruption, tyranny. La ripoublique and wounded agents are doomed to fail. We shall prevail against all odds. La liberté ne se donne pas. Elle s’arrache.

  8. Go do that telling lies politics with the francophones..These are people you can say anything and they will believe..Some Francophones even think Southern cameroonians came from Nigeria and are living in their land..
    SOme call us BIAFRA, some call us Anglos, some call us BAmenda…
    We dont do belly politics..
    We are a very straight forward people, we ask questions and we bring our leaders to accountability..
    We dont accept money, we dont bread and sardine and beer..
    These idiots from yaounde made promises, fooled the people and siad they will crush the uprising in 3 weeks..
    All sort of military is in Southern Cameroon and after 3 years, you see they cant defeat these people..
    A Satanic regime, led by a demon whose goals are just power and power ..We are waiting to see them win..

consequat. ut sit fringilla at odio justo venenatis