Between April and June 2021, Cameroon’s banana production will increase, according to the Q2-2021 business cycle analysis recently published by the Bank of Central African States (BEAC). The same source informs that this rise will be noticed in all of the country’s production areas, ‘including the Southwest, where the main producer plans to renovate 520 hectares [of banana plantations] in 2021.’
In the Southwest, the main banana producer is none other than state-owned agribusiness company Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC). CDC, which also exploits rubber and oil palm plantations, has been the main victim of the socio-political crisis ongoing in the Northwest and Southwest regions since late 2016.
During the crisis, separatists militias converted CDC plantations into training camps, assaulted workers found in the plantations, and burnt the company’s processing and storage units. Because of the insecurity, the top management decided to suspend operations. Therefore, between September 2018 and May 2020, CDC was out of the banana production market in Cameroon.
As a result, the company, which usually injects an average of XAF500 million into the Southwestern region’s economic circuit, recorded a XAF60.9 billion revenue shortfall between 2016 and 2018, according to the technical committee for the renovation of para-public enterprises (CTR).
The same source informs that due to the Anglophone crisis, CDC recorded a XAF17.9 billion net loss in 2019, while its cumulated wage debt was XAF14.5 billion.
In May 2020, CDC resumed banana production but its performance till now is somehow unsatisfactory. According to figures published by the Banana Association Cameroon (ASSOBACAM), over the 9 months from June 2020 to February 2021, CDC exported only 9,521 tons of banana. By renovating 520 hectares of banana plantations, it will effectively relaunch its operations after the problems caused by the Anglophone crisis.
Brice R. Mbodiam