Armel François, the general manager of the Société des Plantations du Haut Penja, a subsidiary of Compagnie Fruitière de Marseille, which dominates the production of banana dessert in Cameroon, is obviously very worried about the performance PHP could achieve in 2017.
“(…) We have to admit that the banana market in Europe is far below the performance of the 2017 budget. Clearly, prices are low!”, announced the DG of PHP in the latest edition of “Au Coeur de la PHP“, the quarterly of this agro-industrial unit. Faced with this situation, says the CEO, “the margins of PHP become very weak and the year could turn to disaster, if prices do not evolve well and especially if we do nothing.”
Indeed, we learn, the European market, the main destination of Cameroon banana, is currently over-supplied. In particular, due to the abundance of the Latin American dollar banana, which the producing countries this year are facing “no climatic phenomenon (El niño, la niña, cyclones and other tropical storms), tectonic Volcanic, social or political (…), which had not happened for many years, “says Armel François.
Also, to balance the company’s accounts against this international situation around banana prices, the DG of PHP spells out some austerity measures that need to be implemented. “All PHP staff and all of us can and should contribute to the company’s effort to adapt to these market conditions. It will be necessary to give up a few parcels of comfort without calling into question the essentials on the telephone, the fuel, the kilometers of car, but also the overtime of complacency and other small advantages taken from the company and on which the management posed a complacent look that is no longer current, “writes Armel François in the editorial of the magazine of the PHP.
As a reminder, according to statistics from the Cameroon Banana Association (Assobacam), PHP exported 124 875 tonnes of bananas in 2016, half of Cameroon’s total exports (249 610 tonnes). Besides bananas, this agro-industrial unit also produces white pepper from Penja (about 40 tons per year), and has just launched into cocoa, with the creation of plantations on 150 hectares and the construction of a processing unit producing locally made chocolate under the brand name “ateliers des cinq volcans“.