(Business in Cameroon) - Several problems are affecting the smooth operations of the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) label awarded to the Penja Pepper in Cameroon, the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI) reveals in a 2021 report assessing the project PPOV - aimed at Strengthening and Promoting the Plant Variety Protection System.
Despite the development potentials the Penja Pepper offers the local economy, several factors contributed to the decline the industry fell into since 2016. According to the report, those factors include repeated frauds, the continuous drop in the price of Penja Pepper in local markets [less than XAF10,000 per kilogrm], the tax pressure, insecurity in the areas covered by the geographical indication label, producers’ disregard for the conditions of the PGI, farmers’ credit access problems, climate change, and pepper diseases.
Consumers are scammed by sellers who sell other varieties of pepper as Penja pepper since there are noticeably no signs to distinguish fake Penja Peppers from real ones, the source adds. "Hence the interest of a logo to be stamped on the original products. Pepper can be grown everywhere but, because of its particular quality, Penja pepper has a higher value and must therefore be sold at a higher price, " the OAPI writes.
For the property organization, the main challenges for the group in charge of the Penja Pepper label are to revitalize the sector, boost producers’ access to profitable markets and fight frauds and counterfeiting both inside and outside Cameroon.
"To meet those challenges, Denis Bohoussou, Director-General of OAPI, and Rene Claude Metomo, President of the Group of Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) Penja Pepper producers, signed a performance contract for the implementation of the geographical indication’s plan on January 28, 2020," the OAPI informs.
The performance contract has two main goals: strengthening the technical and financial autonomy of the GR-IGPP and the Penja Pepper Sorting and Packaging Center (CAC), as well as ensuring the development of the Penja Pepper Protected geographical indication by attracting small farmers into the sector.
The Penja Pepper Protected Geographical Indication label was awarded by the OAPI in 2013. The GR-IGPP ensures the geographical indication conditions are met to guarantee the quality of the Penja pepper. According to the Bangui agreement creating the OAPI, "Geographical Indication ("GI") is a sign which identifies goods as originating from a specific locality or region in a country, given that the quality, reputation, or other characteristics are essentially attributable to the specific locality or region."