CAMEROON – The Cameroon government, through the Directorate General of Customs (DGD), is expecting to collect CFA20 billion and CFA25 billion (US$41.2m) this year from the newly introduced cocoa beans export tax.

The 2023 Cameroonian finance law states that the export of raw cocoa beans is subject to an autonomous exit duty at a rate of 10% of the FOB value. This rate is 2% for cocoa beans exported to industrial free points or similar systems.

The new tax system was issued by the President of the Republic, Paul Biya, who prescribed in particular that the government should implement, as of 2023, “the export taxation policy that takes into account the real level of processing of goods”, to “further encourage exports of finished manufactured made-in-Cameroon products.”

This is part of the numerous investments made by the government to revive the sector; however, they are still insufficient.

Reliable sources in the country reported that the taxation of raw beans export in Cameroon follows many complaints from grinders, most of whom now find it hard to source beans on the local market.

The sources added that the cocoa sector in Cameroon remains dominated by beans exports despite the arrival of two new coffee processing operators with a grinding capacity of at least 80,000 tons. The two are Atlantic Cocoa (48,000 tons expandable to 64,000 tons) and Neo Industry (32,000 tons).

During the 2021-2022 season, the country exported 217,107 tons, representing two and a half times the volume processed locally at 86,850 tons, according to data compiled by the National Cocoa and Coffee Board (NCB).

To help narrow this gap, an operator suggested that the government further encourages the rise of local processing factories through the introduction of a quota system.

The quota system comes on the heels of a five-year smartphone-enabled subsidy program President Paul Biya launched in July 2021 and got backing from the European Union (EU).

The US$76 million plan initiative was said will empower the government itself to purchase and distribute agricultural inputs like fertilizers and pesticides instead of giving financing directly to farmers.

Apart from the subsidy, Cameroon will invest US$28 million in the training of farmers and $10 million in the modernization of farms, according to Global Coffee Platform, over the next ten years.

Producers hope to increase their productivity by at least 20% to 450,000 60kg bags after two straight years of decline. Its output of 375,000 bags for 2020/2021 was estimated at 0.38% of the global crop.

The nation ranked 8th in production among African countries during 2018–2020 and 7th among the continent’s coffee exporters in the 2020/2021 marketing year, according to the International Coffee Organization. Production today comprises 89% Robusta and 11% Arabica.

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