(Business in Cameroon) - The production of premium cocoa in Cameroon has shown a strong upward momentum over the past two seasons. In 2022-23, the output was 681 tons, more than double the 298 tons the previous campaign and almost four times the 182 tons in 2020-21.
This is proof that the interest of Cameroonian producers and their partners in the so-called "zero-defect" cocoa is growing for niche markets. "This cocoa is from integrated production centers, which provide sustainable solutions for managing post-harvest operations and improving cocoa quality in the value chain. The centers have infrastructure and training on the same site, for better control and traceability of activities," explains the National Cocoa and Coffee Board ONCC.
The latter reported that the largest volume of premium beans over the 2022-23 season was delivered by the eight "Golden Cocoa" cooperatives, which are supervised in the Southwest and Central production basins by Dutch partners and the German cooperation agency GIZ. The cooperatives alone marketed 372 tons of premium cocoa, way more than the 48.6 tons of the previous campaign.
At the same time, the six post-harvest cocoa processing centers of excellence set up in some of the country’s production basins produced 217 tons of premium beans. This doubles the 108 tons produced during the previous campaign. However, the volume generated by the private producer Scoop CA followed the opposite trend, declining to 92 tons over the period reviewed, from 141 tons the previous year.
In terms of prices, official data showed that premium beans were sold at between CFA1,800 and CFA2,000 per kg for the "Golden Cocoa'' label, and at CFA1,740 per kg for beans from the centers of excellence. Considering an average of CFA1,770 per kilogram for beans from both origins (compared with CFA750 to CFA1,480 for traditional beans, ed), Cameroonian producers captured a little more than CFA1.2 billion in revenues from premium beans during the 2022-2023 season. This leads to the conclusion that high-quality cocoa appears to be a solution to increase incomes for producers, who are presented as the poorest in the cocoa industry. Moreover, this cocoa is a tool for promoting the Cameroon label on the international market. "Thanks to premium cocoa, at the end of the ICCO (International Cocoa Organisation) meeting held in Antananarivo, Madagascar, on June 13 and 14, 2023, Cameroon was admitted, along with Ghana, to the highly selective list of producer countries exporting fine cocoa,” ONCC said.