(Business in Cameroon) - In Cameroon, the initiatives being implemented by the government and the National Cocoa and Coffe Board (NCCB), for over ten years now, to improve the quality of the cocoa produced seem to be gradually yielding the stellar results intended.
Indeed, over the 2020-2021 cocoa season that ended on July 15, 2021, the country produced close to 90,520 tons of Grade I (Good fermented according to the Federation of Cocoa Commerce’s ISO norms) cocoa. This volume represents 40% of the volume of national production whose quality was checked for exports purposes.
Commenting on the performance recorded during the said season, the NCCB informs that qualitatively, 2020-2021 has been a record-breaking season. First, it indicates, 22,6300 tons (out of national production of 29,2471 tons) were submitted for quality checks, marking the highest volume of cocoa beans the country has ever submitted for quality checks in any given season.
Also, the percentage of Grade I cocoa produced has been the highest ever recorded in the last 20 years. Comparatively, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce, in the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 seasons, the country exported respectively 1,099 and 8,933 tons of good fermented cocoa.
As for grade II (Fair Fermented) cocoa, which usually represents 80% of the country’s cocoa exports, it represented only 54% of the exports during the season under review. Meanwhile, only 6% of the cocoa checked were found to be sub-standard grade; meaning, of unexportable quality.
This considerable improvement in the volume of quality cocoa produced in Cameroon is the result of several measures taken over the years by the government and sectoral operators to improve the perception of the Made-in-Cameroon cocoa in international markets. Those measures include the distribution of tarpaulins that producers now use during the cocoa drying process instead of drying the beans on bare grounds as was previously the case in several production areas.
Also, in regions where the beans are usually harvested during the rainy season, drying ovens were renovated. In addition, the government and some operators instaurated quality and certified cocoa production bonuses, and certified excellence cocoa centers where special equipment is used in the post-harvest process to produce high-quality cocoa.
Brice R. Mbodiam