Home Top News Economy Bernard Njonga : No and no ! To supermarket CARREFOUR in Cameroon....

Bernard Njonga : No and no ! To supermarket CARREFOUR in Cameroon. A disaster !

Supermarché CARREFOUR - supermarket
Crédit photo : Bernard Njonga

The arrival of the supermarket CARREFOUR in Cameroon is announced and applauded. The red carpet is unrolled. They are given unimaginable and free benefits (3.5 ha of land in the heart of the capital after the population has been displaced, tax exemptions not only on the construction material for the building but on all imported products, free and unlimited repatriation of funds, and dozens of other incredible facilities … etc).

And yet!

A disaster for the country on all aspects

  • For having conducted a thorough and comparative study carried out by ACDIC in supermarkets of Douala and Yaoundé on local products ;
  • For having personally traveled to Abidjan to visit the supermarket CARREFOUR, which operates there since 2015 ;

We are formally saying: NO and NO! To CARREFOUR, as it stands currently.

Open the eyes to see this true disaster just like it is. Behold !

  • When these supermarkets talk about creating jobs, they’re just blowing smoke. They create 500 jobs (and what jobs!), and destroy 10,000 others in the production, processing and distribution chain of local products. And what about these local shopkeepers and other small trades that will disappear with time;
  • When these supermarkets talk about selling local products, it’s just window dressing. A few local products that represent less than 2% of their business turnover and are saddening among the most attractive imported products. 2%, Just enough to buy a deceptively good image. Worse, they do not subscribe to any ethical charter and any affirmed social concern.
  • When these supermarkets say they have to train producers to produce under their standards, what their stores would need, it is smokes and mirrors. They are too kind to replace the Ministries of Agriculture and Livestock, to name but a few.
  • These supermarkets, which distribute 98% of imported products, target the rich middle class having some purchasing power and who, unfortunately, dream of purchases in a trolley, in those clean, air-conditioned and snobs places. These supermarkets capture and misappropriate the money of these wealthy people who, if they consumed local products, would have boosted local production and favored better living conditions for our producers. And what about the perversion of the mentalities and habits of consumption of these middle classes;
  • These supermarkets block our development because we can not accompany and encourage producers to produce better and more to finally be unable to sell. Local markets being invaded with imported products. They impoverish the 67% of Cameroonians who live off Agriculture. Even more, it’s a calamity for the rural people who already represent 60% of the poor in Cameroon;
  • These supermarkets, with their imported products whose provenance, manufacturing and quality are difficult to understand, are not only a real food hazard for consumers but are even gradually changing our eating and consumption habits. Nowadays in the city, we know and consume less and less traditional dishes that will eventually disappear, taking away our culinary riches, spices and other natural resources that were used in their preparation. They expose populations to all the known harms of industrialization and the excesses of mass consumption;
  • These supermarkets overwhelm us and prevent us from thinking out any evolution of our local markets and from inventing a “truly Cameroonian” distribution of consumer products; We mean improving, as we want, the market of New-bell in Douala or that of Mokolo in Yaoundé.
  • These supermarkets and other multinationals benefit from enormous public favors, unlike local markets such as Mfoundi in Yaoundé or Mboppi in Douala … which, in more than one respect, are also supermarkets. And what about the bayam-sellam who also deal with the distribution of products;
  • These supermarkets weaken or even break the producer / consumer and urban / rural links and relationship that are the guarantee of solidarity. There is a growing dependency and a weakening of the country’s food sovereignty;
  • In Europe, large-scale retailers have shown their limits and problems in society. Consumers turn their backs on it and prefer a more direct relationship with producers, while we enter the mass retail chain with trumpets. Unbelievable ! The decline in the turnover of supermarkets in recent years explains their attempt to maintain their profits by resettling in emerging countries;
  • With these supermarkets, we live and suffer a new colonization and this time through our mouths. We are neither willing nor prepared to open ourselves so naively to this mass consumption. If we go there, we’ll lose on all sides;
  • Etc.

Things worth knowing :

CARREFOUR lost the battle in India. After four years of existence 2010-2014, CARREFOUR was forced to shut down following the demonstration of the population. ( http://www.bbc.com/news/business-28205698 ).

Let’s join to say a resounding “NO to CARREFOUR, as it stands”, and thus we”ll save our national production (Facebook group “NO TO CARREFOUR AS IT STANDS”).

Bernard Njonga
Agronomist Engineer