Cameroon is kicking off the “pure origin” labelling process of the cocoa produced at post-harvest processing excellence centers in the country’s production areas. This will follow a meeting between the Confédération des chocolatiers et confiseurs de France, the Cameroonian cocoa and coffee inter-professional council, the trade minister and the French Ambassador to Cameroon on September 30 in Nkog-Ekogo, the Central region.
According to official sources, the process will guarantee Cameroonian producers “support in the working methods (harvesting, cracking, fermentation, drying and storage) approved by the Confédération des chocolatiers et confiseurs de France”. The latter committed to buy beans at higher prices than usual. The label “will be awarded to cooperatives that have a women-included Board”, the parties said. For the record, Cameroon has three excellence centers for post-harvest cocoa processing in Mintaba, Si-Manyaï and Nkog-Ekogo, in the Central region.
Christophe Bertrand, a French master chocolate maker, recalled that back in September 2016 Aristide Tchemtchoua, a local cocoa farmer got in touch with him, via Facebook, and asked him to buy her produce. “When I agreed, she dared to do it. She sent me 250 kg, borrowing €700 (about CFA460,000); which is equivalent to almost a whole year's salary in Cameroon”, reported Christophe Bertrand, impressed by the determination of the woman who will then become his trading partner. Since then, Mr. Bertrand has visited Cameroon several times along with members of the Confédération des chocolatiers et confiseurs de France, whose partnership with cocoa producers in Cameroon has grown stronger over time.
Brice R. Mbodiam