Cameroon triples coffee production volume, yet to realize government target

CAMEROON – Cameroon coffee production bounced back, realizing a tripled volume to a total of 38,047 tons, including 6,386 tons of Arabica ad 31,661 tons of Robusta, during the 2021-22 season.

In the 2020-21 season, the country had a coffee production of 12,157 tons, a drop of 50.7% from the previous season, the first time below 20,000 tons since the 2015-16 season.

In detail, the highest improvement was observed for the Robusta variety, whose volume increased from only 11,745 tons in 2020-21 to 31,661 tons this season, corresponding to an increase of 19,916 tons (169.5%).

Although less significant, the Arabica variety also achieved a good result with volumes up 5,974 tons from only 412 tons in 2020-21 to 6,386 tons in 2021-22. This makes an increase of 1,450% in relative value.

Despite the improvement, the volumes announced by Cameroon’s Prime Minister Joseph Dio Nguté during his presentation, to the National Assembly, remain well below the government’s expectations.

In its plan to revive the cocoa-coffee sector between 2015 to 2020, the government aimed to reach a production of 185,000 tons of coffee, all varieties combined, in 2020. A goal that remains out of reach to this day, given that production has only declined over the past decade.

cocoa-coffee inter-professional organization (ONCC) attributes the lack of realization to several factors, including the aging and low productivity of orchards, the lack of interest of young people in this cash crop because of its low profitability, the arduous nature of work, more lucrative offers in other sectors, etc.

Cameroon was once the second-largest coffee producer and exporter in Africa. Its annual production figures were as high as 132,000 metric tonnes in the mid-1980s. The country’s largest-ever yield was 156,000 metric tonnes, reported in 1990.

Cameroonian coffee roasters process only 5% of the national production of Arabica and Robusta coffees, according to the African Fine Coffees Association.

With this kind of figure showing how much low African countries value-add their agricultural produce to fetch more income in the markets, African leaders have called for faster industrialization during the African Union Summit.

African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina said: “It is therefore clear that Africa’s prosperity must no longer depend on exports of raw materials but on value-added finished products.”

“Across Africa, we need to turn cocoa beans into chocolate, cotton into textiles and garments, coffee beans into brewed coffee.”

He added that the Bank was investing US$25 billion to transform the continent’s agricultural sector and unlock the agribusiness market, which is expected to reach US$1 trillion in value by 2030.

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