Eradicating Poverty Through Profits; Case of Rice Farming and Processing in Bamessing, Ndop

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  • Topic: Rice, Poverty, Paddy field
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  • Published : November 8, 2010
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Eradicating poverty through profits; case of rice farming
and processing in Bamessing, Ndop

Statistics show that more than four (4) billion people live at the bottom of the economic pyramid called BOP that shows how wealth is distributed throughout the world and that BOP lives on less than $2/day. However, according to the book titled “The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty through Profits” written by C.K. Prahalad, we can eradicate poverty by making profits if we consider the interests of the BOP or poor consumer when offering products and/or services to them, which comes into play when we get the BOP involved, active, and informed. In the absence of the stated points above, we will always find ourselves increasing the level of poverty and reducing profits instead if care is not taken as BOP consumers get discourage, lack the finances to purchase goods and services offer them, feel cheated, etc… that this paper handles. Whereas if we follow Prahalad’s basic premise as mention above, we will find ourselves eradicating poverty and making more and more profits as the BOP consumer is made an enterprising consumer as was the case with rice farming and processing in Bamessing-Ndop where consumers got discourage and abandon their rice farmlands and even Ndop rice consumption and shifted to vegetable farming that was less expensive to cultivate and transport to the markets, but came back anxiously to rice farming when Prahalad’s advice was put into practice.

At the foot of the Sabga hill lays a village called Bamessing in the grasslands of Ndop subdivision of Bamenda, Cameroon. Where rice farming has become the only cash crop within the region and ¾ of the population now live solely on this cash crop. Today poverty has been reduced in this region drastically as compare to some 15 years back when the villagers had no skills and less informed about rice farming.

Some seven (7) years ago when most of the rice farming process was handled by Upper Noun Valley Development Authority (UNVDA), an organization that was created by Cameroon government to carter for the transformation of rice from farms to product in particular and agriculture in general, during this era, the BOP consumer’s interest wasn’t taken into account as describe below;

- Farmlands were owned by the villagers or farmers. These farmlands were either inherited or bought over by rich business men who came in from the cities. These business men owned most of the farmlands and will usually cultivate the rice in large scale, harvest and transport it to the cities where they will process it and then distribute it to consumers at a price homologated by Upper Noun Valley Development Authority (UNVDA) not affordable to the BOP consumer. Other farmers who couldn’t produce at large scale, and can’t afford transportation and processing of the rice had to sell to UNVDA at a very low price.

In this condition, it was like the survivor of the fittest where the weak will always die and the strong will always remain on top. During this period many fallbacks were recorded as numerated below:

Even though the end product was of the BOP needs, and the BOP consumer involve and active in the primary sector of the rice farming, They were never informed about what goes on at the top levels of the process i.e. secondary sector and were never made to be enterprising. This fallback simply made the rich to become very rich and the poor BOP consumer becoming very poor.

After working very hard in the farmlands and investing their little savings in fertilizers and labour (for those whose family members couldn’t do all the work in the farmlands), they ended up selling at very low prices and made very little profits which wasn’t enough to even afford for the end product of a crop they cultivated themselves. This led to the BOP consumer feeling cheated by the government’s organization UNVDA and the rice business men who even when as far as buying from the...
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