(Business in Cameroon) - Cocoa exports during the 2021-22 campaign in Cameroon generated a total of CFA288.7 billion in revenue, according to data from the national cocoa coffee office (ONCC). This sum, collected by the 38 active exporters identified over the period, is largely higher than the profit made by producers. This means that producers, who are the real workforce of the sector, benefit less than others.
This problem is also observed on the global market. The International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) reported that the annual turnover of the global cocoa industry reaches $100 billion, but only $2 billion (2%) goes to producers. Chocolate manufacturers reap the largest share with 35% of the turnover, while the remaining is shared between the grinding industry and transporters.
During the 2012-13 campaign, for example, at a time when the farm gate price was close to CFA1,500 per kg in Cameroon, local cocoa farmers sold about CFA250 billion of beans, according to ICCO data. However, during the same period, the global sector generated a total of CFA4,500 billion, said Jean-Marc Anga, then ICCO executive secretary, during the 2013 edition of the Cameroonian cocoa festival (Festicacao 2013).
To boost revenue for producers, the major producing countries on the continent such as Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire, and Cameroon launched with the European Union (EU), the world's largest importer of cocoa beans, an initiative called Cocoa Talks. It is presented as a dialogue on sustainable cocoa production.
"Sustainability means protecting the environment. But, sustainability also means the survival of producers […] Sustainability rhymes with the protection of the environment, the prohibition of child labor, and ultimately, the prosperity of producers. That is what we want from this discussions,” said Minister Mbarga Atangana, at the opening of the Cocoa Talks on November 18, 2021, in Yaoundé.
Written by:Brice R. Mbodiam
Translated from French by Firmine AIZAN