(Business in Cameroon) - During the first six months of 2021, Cameroon imported 319,330 tons of rice, according to recent figures published by the national institute of statistics INS. This is up by 59,038 tons (23%) compared with the 260,292 tons of rice imported during the same period in 2020.
To import such volume of rice in H1-2021, the country spent XAF86 billion, up by over XAF15 billion (21%) compared with the XAF70.9 billion it spent on rice imports in H1-2020. These imports that affect the country’s trade balance usually benefit neighboring countries.
According to the INS, a significant share of the rice imported by Cameroon is fraudulently reexported to neighboring countries. "The local production is estimated at 217,280 tons and demand at 757,000 tons. Supposing that households’ consumption habits have not changed significantly between 2018 and 2019, there is a close to 332,300 tons gap between supply and demand. This gap valued at about XAF87 billion can be explained by the fraudulent re-exportations to neighboring countries," the INS previously explained in its 2019 report on Cameroon’s foreign trade. In its recent report on the strategic positioning of cereals and by-products processing, the Enterprises Upgrading Office BMN revealed that 70% of Cameroon’s rice production is exported to Nigeria because of logistics issues as well as the quality of the rice produced (there is a high percentage of impurity and broken sediment in Cameroon’s rice).