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Cameroon – Agriculture: “We must believe in our cocoa (…) As long as the world will be, the cocoa will exist …” – Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana

Written by Gisele Alba

Visiting at the end of last week in the locality of Ayos, cocoa production area of Central Cameroon region, the Minister of Trade, Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana (photo), urged the producers not to give way to discouragement, despite the gloomy economy around the world cocoa prices. “We have to believe in our cocoa. There is no matter for despair (…) As long as the world will be, the cocoa farming will exist … “, he declared.

Indeed, according to the data compiled by the Information System of the sectors (Sif), which allows daily publication of the average prices of cocoa and coffee on the Cameroonian territory, the kilogram of beans has been negotiated since the month of March Between 900 and 960 CFA francs on average. In the last few days, in many production areas of the country, the same quantity of beans is traded at 800 or even 700 CFA francs, according to the producers.

It is a long way off, when the Cameroonian cocoa field price peaked at 1,500 or even 1,600 CFA francs per kilogram, which often made the Minister Mbarga Atangana say that the Cameroonian producer is “the best paid in the world”.

In order to make Cameroonian producers better able to withstand the fall in world prices, this member of the Government once again, during his visit to Ayos, exalted the benefits of local processing and good farming practices, which helps put on the market a product of good quality and to conquer niche markets.

As a reminder, the quality of Cameroonian cocoa continues to be a major concern for the operators of the sector and the government. In the 2015-2016 season, for example, about 97% of the exported beans were Grade II, while ‘only 81% of the beans were declared controlled‘, according to the Cocoa- coffee inter-profession.

On the side of transformation, it is not great satisfaction either. According to official statistics, during the 2015-2016 season, less than 50 000 tonnes of beans were processed locally on a marketed production of more than 269 000 tonnes. This performance, which reveals Cameroon’s dependence on world bean prices, represents less than 15% of the crushing targets projected by the operators of the sector and the government by 2020 (300 000 tonnes), in the context of plan to revive the cocoa-coffee sector.

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Gisele Alba