On March 22, 2021, the Minister of Livestock, Fisheries, and Animal Industries (MINEPIA) Dr. Taiga sent a letter to the Brazilian ambassador to Cameroon announcing that Cameroon was authorizing the importation of Brazilian poultry products into Cameroon.
That authorization was misinterpreted by some residents who think that the government is allowing the importation of frozen chicken, which was suspended in 2006.
Fact is, the letter authorizes the importation of poultry products and by-products. As the MINEPIA communication department explains, the said poultry products and by-products do not include frozen chicken. The authorization rather concerns the inputs that will help local poultry farmers develop their production. Those inputs are namely hatching eggs as well as day-old chicks and feed.
This explanation was corroborated by François Djonou, president of the Poultry Interprofession of Cameroon (Ipavic). "The term 'avian products' does not mean that chickens will be imported. And if you carefully read the letter, you will notice that they even mentioned "by-products" or avian by-products. Those poultry by-products include for instance poultry feed, which is a good source of protein for chickens, as well as feather and blood meal. The letter just allows us to source several types of poultry products from Brazil but I don’t know why people think that it is restoring frozen chicken import," he said.
The reason for all the polemics around the MINEPIA’s letter is that it was issued after the demise of the food sovereignty activist Bernard Njonga (he died on the night of February 21 to 22, 2021, at 66).
For the public, M. Njonga is the man who stopped the importation of frozen chicken in Cameroon. So seeing such a letter pop up on social media after his death, some users thought that the MINEPIA was reviving frozen chicken imports since the man who spent his entire life fighting such practice is no more. But, the MINEPIA’s authorization is not for frozen chicken. It is for poultry products and by-products. Frozen chicken import is still prohibited in the country.