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The IRAD-Bayangam antenna was inaugurated on 15 March 2024 by the Minister of Scientific Research and Innovation, Dr Madeleine TCHUINTE. Female farmers were given gifts of agricultural equipment during the event.

On 15 March 2024, the Minister of Scientific Research and Innovation, Dr Madeleine TCHUINTE, inaugurated the Bayangam antenna of the Institute of Agricultural Research for Development (IRAD). Important administrative and political figures from the Koung-Khi Division as well as the Governor of the West Region attended the ceremony. Traditional chiefs attended the ceremony and gave their blessings, reflecting the importance of this new antenna to the local population, who turned out in large numbers.

IRAD Bayangam: Cameroon’s Irish potato bed of roses

The IRAD Bayangam Antenna, specialised in Irish potato production, provides great opportunities, not just for employment, but also for supplying the sub-region with this highly sought-after crop in the agri-food industry. Speaking at the event, Dr Madeleine TCHUINTE thanked the Head of State, His Excellency Paul BIYA, for having made this project possible.

The decision to carry out the potato project in Bayangam was based on scientific parameters which were outlined by the IITA Resident Representative in Cameroon and the Director General of IRAD in their respective speeches. The high altitude required to grow quality Irish potatoes is one of the reasons for this choice. The IRAD Bayangam antenna, which is affiliated to the IRAD-Bagangte station, is the result of a drive towards specialisation based on the environmental characteristics of Cameroon’s agro-ecological zones. Prior to its inauguration, IRAD organised a training session for trainers.

Award of certificates and gifts to female farmers

As part of activities to inaugurate the IRAD-Bayangam antenna, 250 women and some thirty associations were awarded certificates and donated seeds as well as farming tools. These were women who had taken part in a training course conducted by IRAD researchers on 6 March 2024 in Bandjoun.

The training focused on the production and processing chain for various crops, including tomatoes, Irish potatoes and maize. Emphasis was placed on preservation techniques for products derived from these crops.

This donation was Dr Madeleine TCHUINTE’s way of supporting women’s associations in their farming activities. These tools were provided to complement the training they had undergone. The tools, it is hoped, will build their capacity and increase production. Moreover, a special gift from the First Lady, Madame Chantal BIYA, was handed over to the peasant community through the D.O. of Koung-Khi.