(Business in Cameroon) - An international scientific conference is being held in Yaoundé on the practical approach to adapting cocoa and coffee cultivation to climate change. The conference, which begins today and ends on June 8, is organized by the Interprofessional Council of Cocoa and Coffee (CICC) in partnership with the Cameroonian government.
"We are not yet finding effective and sustainable solutions for small farmers when it comes to adapting the cocoa and coffee sectors to climate change in our country. Over the past decade, the international scientific community has consistently proposed three approaches: the development of new varieties resilient to climate variations, irrigation of cocoa and coffee plantations, and agroforestry. However, these measures are costly for small growers, or only effective in the long term, and therefore not for immediate use," explains Appolinaire Ngwé, the president of CICC.
"After over of decade of research with national experts and other partners, CICC has now decided to go for a simple and practical approach. We are going to implement a phenological response to the issue. We observe what comes and we act accordingly,” the President said.
Climate change in Cameroon is marked by increasingly long drought periods and uncontrolled rainy seasons. In the cocoa and coffee sectors, in addition to lowering production, it is destroying plant material. According to the Cocoa Development Corporation (Sodecao), for example, between 40% and 50% of cocoa plants in nurseries are lost every year as a result of climate change.
"Climate uncertainty today is having an even greater effect on coffee growers than economic uncertainty. The Arabica variety could be off shelves even though it is the most prized because of the drastic drop in production," François Mefinja Foka, then Managing Director of Central Union of the Western agricultural cooperative (Uccao), the largest coffee producers' organization in Cameroon, told Business in Cameroon in 2018.