(Business in Cameroon) - Cameroon is currently elaborating on a revival plan for the tomato sector. This was revealed during the inter-ministerial meeting held via videoconference on July 16 and chaired by Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute.
According to the government, "the plan currently being developed involves a series of accompanying measures including the identification of cooperatives most affected by the Covid-19, the reinforcement of technical capacities in the tomato production and processing sectors, as well as farmers for the acquisition of agricultural inputs.”
Since the closure of borders in the framework of the fight against the spread of the coronavirus, there has been a decrease in Cameroon’s tomato exports to neighbouring countries [particularly Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and Congo] and a drastic reduction in the profitability margins of operators in this sector.
For instance, since the border closure on March 17, 2020, in some Cameroonian towns, producers are obliged to sell a crate of tomato at CFAF2,000 or even CFAF1,500 instead of the usual prices of CFAF7,000 and between CFAF11,000 and CFAF12,000 during rainy seasons: a price gap of over CFAF5,000.
According to some retailers, normally, when a tomato crate is sold at CFAF2,500, there is a sales margin of 30% (after subtraction of all expenses).
They explain that the crate is sold at higher prices simply because customers from the sub-region offer over CFAF10,000 per crate just to guarantee their supplies. Therefore, such price level has become the reference price known to all, as is the case for oil on international markets. With the coronavirus pandemic and the mobility problems it created, the reference price crashed to come to its real value.