Members of Cameroon Union of Journalists from March 16 to 18 were trained on Development Research reporting in Cameroon. The three days' exercise took participants to the Institute of Agricultural Research for Development (IRAD) Ekona where the Chief of Centre, Dr. Mafeni Mase, revealed that the centre is plagued by the lack of funds, skilled workers and non-replacement of retired workers.
The Chief called on the journalists and other research officials on Wednesday March 17 during the visit, to acquaint themselves with activities of the Research Institute, its worth to the community notwithstanding.
The visit was within the framework of the three day workshop organized by the Union of Cameroon Journalists, UCJ, in Buea to strengthen the capacity of journalists in reporting on Development Research in Cameroon under the auspices of International Development Research Centre (IDRC).
The workshop was to bridge the gap between Researchers and Journalists to fine-tune strategies to cause policy markers exploit research findings for the good of the Nation. Briefing the workshop participants on the mission and services of the Research institute, Mafeni lamented that the centre lacks sufficient funds and skilled manpower to function full capacity.
Besides, obsolete equipment and non replacement of retired Researchers and feedback from beneficiaries of their services (local farmers) was another worry. Although timid application of research findings by authorities that be, was another discouraging issue raised, he expressed satisfaction that their services were widely exploited by plantation farmers.
Created in 1954 under the auspices of Cameroon Development Corporation, CDC, to research on the cultivation of oil palms and cocoa, activities of the centre were expanded to maize, tea and rubber by 1956.
In 1972, the research service was transformed to Institute of Agronomical Research when CDC handed it to Government. In 1996 IRA was then merged with other research institutes to form the Institute of Agricultural Research for Development, IRAD.
The Public Administrative Establishment is managed by both the Ministries of Technical Research and Development and Finance, he said.
The workshop participants visited the laboratories where they were briefed on some Research methodology and application results by local farmers in a bid to improve yields. Research on rubber nursery is said to be at teens but the plant is reportedly doing well in the region, Muenyi Paul, an agronomist, Head of the Agronomic Departments briefed the visitors.
He cited a number of research projects carried out over the years and how they are exploited by local farmers to improve on yields. “We most often give them technical assistance on use of farm inputs,” amongst others.
On his part Fritz Ndumbe Lyonga, Head of Rubber Technical Department, briefed visitors on the grades (Standard African Rubber - SAR 10, SAR 31 and SAR CV3) processing of rubber, its use and packaging for exportation.
By Chifu Edward
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