Background of MIDENO
MIDENO is the acronym of the French appellation, MISSION de DEVELOPMEMENT du Nord Ouest. In English, it is North West Development Authority or NWDA. The North West Development Authority (MIDENO) was created by Presidential Decree No. 81/350 of 13/08/81 with the main objective of overseeing on behalf of the Government of Cameroon, the implementation of rural development projects approved for the then North West Province. It is endowed with a legal personality and financial autonomy.
It is further endowed with wide powers to oversee, on behalf of Government all bodies intervening in the rural development sector in the Region. The Authority has an 11 member Board of Directors, with the Governor of the Region as Chairman. MIDENO is under the tutelle of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The Authority was also created to respond to the slow pace of development given that the inhabitants of the area were mostly involved in subsistence farming which could not meet their needs backed by the fact that the then Province was not identified with mineral resources, big forests or industries that could create employment and boost the economy of the area.
Since 1982, MIDENO has so far coordinated the implementation of two projects, namely; the North West High Plateau Rural Development Project simply called MIDENO Phase I and Phase II Reformulated or MIDENO II-R.
Through MIDENO, the Government between 1982 and 2002 disbursed CFA 14. 2 Billion for the Region for the purpose of poverty alleviation. These Projects, like the third one baptised the Grass field Project were funded with Donor funds from organisations like the European Union, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and especially the African Development Bank (ADB).
A snapshot of the Success Story of MIDENO
Besides the local impact, the success story of MIDENO is national and international. For instance, the achievements of MIDENO encouraged Government to create the MIDENO type development structure in the South West Region and followed up with resolutions at two separate Coordination Meetings in MINADER, to create similar structures in the other Regions. Satisfied with the impact of MIDENO in the Region, the African Development Bank (the fore runner of MIDENO activities) requested MIDENO to assist the South West Development Authority (SOWEDA) in building its Terms of Reference for the development of the South West Region.
The success story of MIDENO also has an international impact following the decision of the ADB to invite MIDENO to an international Seminar in South Africa to give a lecture on its success story.
Achievements and Impact of MIDENO
MIDENO as Government’s overseer of rural development efforts in the North West Region is assisting the rural population to improve their living conditions as well as coordinating activities of key stakeholders in rural development in the Region. This is done through:
- Provision of improved planting materials like maize and bean seeds to the farming population at subsidized prices
- Assisting farmers to increase farm sizes and reduce drudgery through trainings on Animal Traction and Permanent Farming Systems, as well as provision of tractor services to farmers in Menchum and other Divisions
- Collaborating with the Ministry of Public Works to provide and maintain/rehabilitate farm-to-market roads to selected Divisions of the Region
- Education/distribution and follow-up of loan clients as well as coming up with micro credit projects for the Region
- Conducting studies, research or operations connected with rural development in the Region with the view of mounting projects (a Livestock/Fisheries Project. A Micro Credit Development Fund is in the pipeline)
- Carrying out orientation of the stakeholders in order to ensure good outreach of development activities to all the needy rural population of the Region
- Encouraging exchange of experiences during coordination meetings to permit development stakeholders situate themselves on the development map of the Region
- Prompt assistance to disaster victims in kind and cash. Assistance to farmers like was the case in Bambalang. MIDENO also gave symbolic assistance to victims of the floods that swept away farm lands and crops in Babessi Sub Division. Other examples are the Munken Fire Disaster in Menchum and that of Bali Bawock.
- Building the capacity of development stakeholders at macro/micro levels
MIDENO also coordinates the activities of the Maize Platform from the Regional to the Divisional levels. The coordination role of MIDENO in this sector involves orientation, capacity enhancement of the executive, financial and material support for key platform activities.
The Authority also works/supports other development stakeholders/networks as far as capacity enhancement is concerned and also providing token financial support to them when means are available
Employment creation in communities where the Authority intervenes with its development activities (programmes)
Monitoring/Supervision of projects
Assist students on internship
Mainstream gender in all activities carried out
Offer training on functional adult literacy
MIDENO phase I
Incidentally the name of the Projects, somehow, became synonymous with that of the Implementing Authority, hence MIDENO Phase I and MIDENO Phase II Reformulated or MIDENO II R. The Project cost 10.2 billion FCFA and was implemented within five years starting from 1982 but due to prevailing circumstances the Project live span was prolonged to 1989/90/ Financing was provided by the four funding partners including the Government of Cameroon.
Objectives and activities
Broadly stated, the basic objective of MIDENO Phase I was to help speed up improvement of the living standard of the population of the North West Region, through improving their agricultural production and productivity.
Emphasis was placed in improving the agricultural production of the population because over 80% of it, at the time, earned their living through agriculture (crops and livestock production). Also, because there are no such high revenue earning natural resources as mineral deposits and big forests, nor any industries in the Region.
The Specific Objectives
They were :
- To raise farm family incomes
- To improve income distribution
- To increase food crop production
- To improve access to and from markets
- To increase foreign exchange earnings by raising the level and quality of export crops especially coffee.
Increased crop yields especially of maize, beans and other pulses , root and tuber crops as well as of newly introduced vegetable varieties. This resulted from the strengthening of some relevant services such as the Regional Delegation of Agriculture so that they should perform their traditional roles more efficiently and effectively.
- 20 village water supplies were constructed in all the Divisions while a number of health centres were constructed with the participation of the beneficiary villages.
- It provided employment to hundreds of Village Extension Workers, bricklayers, sand and stone suppliers.
- More money entered the hands of motor vehicle and motor cycle spare parts suppliers, building material suppliers, petrol station proprietors as well as motor mechanics, motor cycle repairers etc... as many vehicles were brought in by the Authority.
In short in seven years, through the Project, 10.2 billion FCFA was pumped into the North West and made to circulate reaching everywhere.
MIDENO Phase II and Phase II-Reformulated
MIDENO Phase I was to be followed immediately by a Phase II which had actually been appraised and declared effective in July 1991. Unfortunately because of the global economic crises exacerbated in Cameroon by some political upheavals, Government was unable to service its external debts and was actually under sanctions by its hitherto external donors. Between 1993 and 1998, the economy improved considerably and Government was now able to service its debts notably the debts with the African Development Bank (ADB) which was now willing to fund MIDENO II as a sole donor. And since the other potential donors still observing the economy of Cameroon vis a vis the economic crisis, the ADB could not alone, fund the MIDENO Phase II Project which was mounted at the cost of 21.5 billion FCFA. In this regard, the ADB suggested and the Government of Cameroon agreed to reformulate (cut down the Project in size and amount) thus the name MIDENO II Reformulated or II R. It cost was 3.8 billion FCFA.
Objectives and activities
-To increase agricultural production and farm incomes
- To rationalize and strengthen Executing Agencies and the MIDENO Project Management Office(PMO)
-To improve the socio-economic conditions of the rural population by the construction of roads and water schemes in the Project area.
0To protect and rationally utilize the resources of the North West (land and water)-environmental protection.
Focus was on providing quality, high yielding and disease resistant seeds of a number of crop varieties resulted in increased production of maize, rice, Irish potatoes, beans, yellow yams. A plantain regeneration programme brought self sufficiency in plantain production in the Region. For instance
- 52 tons of maize basic seed was released by IRAD for multiplication and distribution
- 175 tons of quality rice seed was produced by UNVDA and supplied to farmers in the Ndop Plain
- 387.000 plantain suckers were realized under the PDA/MIDENO Plantain Regeneration Programme
- 3 million yellow yam setts were produced by contract farmers under MIDENO sponsorship
- 120 TONS OF Irish potato seeds were produced by IRAD
- 19 tons of beans seed were also realized and distributed.
- Under livestock, 1250 rabit, 480 pig, 90.000 poultry parent stock was produced
- Working with ALIVET Cameroon, a Revolving Fund was set up with brances in Bamenda, Nkambe and Wum to import and supply quality vaccines and drugs to rearers and also to train livestock farmers in basic animal health.
- 6 training courses were organized for farmers all over the Region
Under the animal traction programme, 6 training coursed were organized, 233 farmers and 230 oxen were trained. The animals ploughed the land, made ridges, weed and pulled harvests home in carts.
A total of 1.2 billion FCFA was so far distributed to 8.258 farmers as seasonal loans to enable them acquire inputs such as fertilizers, phyto chemicals, and improved seeds as well as improved parent livestock. In all 956 projects were sponsored through the MIDENO micro credit scheme.
Under the Village Development Fund component, 429 kms of road was maintained, using equipment available at MIDENO’s Sub Project at former WADA in Wum.
As far as the development of cooperatives and farmer groups was concerned, MIDENO undertook studies to restructure the North West Cooperative Association so that it can better serve its affiliate Unions as the apex organization of marketing cooperatives in the North West.
New women farming groups were formed and together with existing ones, were empowered through workshops and seminars, particularly about how to manage projects financed with loans from MIDENO.
The impact of MIDENO Phase II R was evaluated vis-à-vis the main objectives of poverty alleviation and assuring food security for the North West and there was enough evidence that the objectives were met to a large extent considering:
- The quality of improved seeds of high-yielding crop varieties which were produced and taken up by farmers;
- The fact that the North West was no longer importing plantains because it has become self-sufficient in production;
- 342 farm families were trained in oxen farming technology which resulted in more hectares (average 2ha) as against .5ha with the hand hoe, brought under cultivation.
The construction of water supply schemes, Community Halls, Construction of farm to market roads, building of culverts and bridges.
Over 1.4bn FCFA loans were distributed for 956 agricultural projects, the vast majority of which were successful.
The development mandate given to MIDENO by the Government of Cameroon in the North West Region includes amongst others; the supervision/monitoring of implementation of rural development projects mounted by the Authority or Government. This role has been reinforced during the third Project mounted by MIDENO known as the Grass field Project which went operational in October 2004. During the MIDENO Phase I and II where MIDENO was involved in implementation, its role as oversee/supervisor of all rural development projects in the Region on behalf of Government was blurred/masked.
MIDENO just like the Department of Studies and Programmes in MINADER is charged with the external M&E/supervision of GP-DERUDEP. However, MIDENO’s supervision here is at the Regional level while that of MINADER is national.
The main objective of the Supervisory Mission which MIDENO has been mandated to carry out is to ensure effective implementation for sustainability of impact, ascertain progress of project implementation and to be sure that the strategies and actions undertaken towards the realization of project goals are consistent.
Since 2005 with the take-off of the Grassfield Project, MIDENO assumed its new role. Even though we call it a ‘New Role’ there is nothing new about the role. The development mandate given to MIDENO by its decree of creation has not changed. The name is rather to emphasize certain development assignments, which though enshrined in the decree of creation, MIDENO was too busy and so did not have time to fulfil other aspects of its assigned role.
The development mandate given to MIDENO by its decree of creation is wide in scope and demanding in effort. Unlike the Grassfield Project the two previous projects which MIDENO implemented were not provided with Implementation Units and so MIDENO was overburdened with coordination of project implementation.
This is why during the mounting of the Grassfield Project and subsequently the Livestock and Fisheries Development Project (LIFIDEP); care was taken to provide the Projects with Implementation Units. This provision gave MIDENO the opportunity to fully assume its other responsibilities.