As part of a Gabon government plan to develop cash crops, Singapore-based Olam International Ltd. has offered to send thousands of aspiring farmers on training courses abroad. The courses will help develop a local agro-industry in the country that faces decreasing crude revenue and that imports most of its food.
Gabon’s president Ali Bongo has stated he wants to boost agricultural output from 5 percent to 20 percent of gross domestic product by 2020. In 2014, the government started its ‘Graine’ agriculture program. In the plan, people who complete a training will be eligible to obtain land titles.
Take up farming
Olam has partnered with Gabon to develop 100,000 hectares (247,000 acres) of oil-palm plantations in the nation. Together with Olam International, the Gabon government is now trying to persuade young people to take up farming. The idea is to send Gabon’s farmers to observe cocoa farming in Ivory Coast or learn modern farming techniques at a palm-oil plantation in Asia.
Large-scale investments in the agricultural sector, especially in cash crops, is expected to reverse Gabon’s slowdown in growth, according to the IMF. Economic growth is expected to be about 3.2 percent this year, from 4 percent in 2015.
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