(Business in Cameroon) - Despite ongoing crisis in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions, particularly the southwest which is a major cocoa growing area, Fitch Solutions raised beans output forecasts for the 2018-19 campaign which ends mid-July 2019.
“Recent escalating violence in the run-up to the presidential election in October 2018 led us to revise down our 2018/19 cocoa production forecast for the country to 170,000 tons (see ‘Cameroon Agribusiness Report’, January 04). However, tensions have eased slightly in recent months, and output for the 2017/18 season came in close to record levels at 240,000 tons despite reports in early 2018 of cocoa farmers fleeing plantations amid clashes between separatists and security forces. We have therefore revised up our 2018/19 production forecast to 245,000 tons, expecting the season to also remain resilient to potential conflict in the region,” Fitch Solutions said in a report issued March 18, 2019.
Outlook is all the more reachable since new plantations with improved yields have gradually been created across the country over the past five campaigns, as part of a plantation renewal program initiated by the cocoa-coffee inter professional group.
Thanks to this program, beans production exceeded 240,000 tons in the 2017-18 year, up 231,000 tons from the previous season, despite intensified unrest in the southwest over the period.
Also, though insecurity has led producers to abandon cocoa farms, and exporters to relocate their staff to quieter areas, the Southwest region still significantly contributes to national production. 31.5% of total beans purchased during the past season came from the southwest, compared to 7% and 50.3% respectively for the Littoral and Central regions, National Cocoa and Coffee Board (Oncc) revealed.
Brice R. Mbodiam