Students and their teacher attend a practical lesson in a tractor workshop at Yabassi Technical and Professional Agricultural High School in Yabassi, Cameroon, Jan. 12, 2023. (Photo by Kepseu/Xinhua)
Growing up in a predominantly agrarian community in Cameroon, Junior Moudina fell in love with agriculture as a child but lacked the skills. This situation changed when China constructed a technical and professional agricultural high school in his native town of Yabassi to provide training in agriculture for students.
YAOUNDE, Jan. 25 (Xinhua) — Growing up in a predominantly agrarian community in Cameroon, Junior Moudina fell in love with agriculture as a child but lacked the skills. This situation changed when China constructed a technical and professional agricultural high school in his native town of Yabassi to provide training in agriculture for students.
When the school went operational in 2017, the 23-year-old was among the first batch of over 200 students to enroll. He had one objective. “I would like to be one of the first to modernize agriculture in Cameroon,” Moudina said in a recent interview with Xinhua in the school.
“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 see certain equipment that I have never seen since birth,” he added.
JEWEL IN THE JUNGLE
For all intents and purposes, Yabassi Technical and Professional Agricultural High School is an ultra-modern infrastructure. Located in Yabassi, Nkam division of the Littoral region, the school looks like a jewel in the jungle from a distance. It is the pioneer professional agricultural high school in the central African nation.
“The school has changed the physiognomy of Yabassi. When you arrive in Yabassi, what first catches your attention is the beautiful structure of the school, which is (a fruit of) cooperation between Cameroon and China,” said Jean Mirabeau Eba, mayor of Yabassi Council.
It is constructed over four hectares of land and boasts 78 hectares used as practicing farms. The school comprises administrative offices, classrooms, workshops, a refectory, a multimedia center, laboratories, dormitories, recreational facilities, and logistic equipment consisting of tractors, excavators, automobile engine training platforms, and incubators for chickens and boilers.
It offers courses in crop and animal production, maintenance of agricultural equipment and processing and conservation of agricultural products.
Overall, Yabassi Technical and Professional Agricultural High School is among the most excelling schools in the country, said Louis David Njenjock Bang, principal of the school. “Since the school was created, we always rank first in official exams of technical schools in the country.”
Agriculture is the mainstay of Cameroon’s economy, engaging an estimated 70 percent of the economically active population and accounting for an estimated 80 percent of the primary sector’s contribution to the country’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 helps foster the much-needed skilled workforce, said Bang.
“In almost all (agricultural) firms (in Cameroon), very few workers have been trained professionally. We train agronomists and offer them (firms) trained professionals,” Bang said.
Since its inception, over 500 students have graduated from the school. One of them is Timothee Le Vainqueur Dissionbi.
In the Njombe locality, dozens of miles from Yabassi, Dissionbi works in a plantation company. He said the training he received in the school helped propel his integration into the company where he occupies a position of checking and confirming the quality of products.
“I feel at ease in my current position,” the 20-year-old said. “I wish to thank the Chinese for constructing and equipping the school.”
“Our graduates easily find jobs with good salaries,” said Bang.
GOOD CAREER PROSPECTS
Moudina hopes to graduate this year and is already excited about what awaits him after graduation. “I used to think you can only get rich by working with the government. After studying here, I realized I can become my own boss, do my own things and realize my dream in agriculture.”
Monthe Memba, on her part, has a more holistic dream. She was one of the students who were watering crops when Xinhua visited the practicing farm of the school.
“Thanks to this training, we can change the world. Unemployed people can find employment in agriculture. We can create agricultural enterprises to provide jobs to young Cameroonians,” said the 19-year-old.
Such ambitions by the students are valid, but training needs to be intensified “for excellent results,” said Bang.
“It is important that our teachers who benefitted from the Chinese equipment are trained on how to use the equipment,” he said. ?