CAMEROON – In a historic achievement for Cameroon’s cocoa market, producer prices per kilogram surged to an unprecedented CFA4,225 (US$7.04) during a collective cocoa sale on March 5, 2024, in the key cocoa-producing area of Abong-Mbang, Eastern Cameroon.  

This record-breaking rate is now recognized as the highest both nationally and globally. 

Cameroon’s Minister of Trade, Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana, officially acknowledged this milestone, attributing the success to favorable international market dynamics and the consistent enhancement of the nation’s cocoa bean quality.  

He highlighted the international market’s situation, which includes projected production declines in leading cocoa-producing countries like Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana due to climate-related issues and aging plantations. 

“Indeed, the continued improvement in beans quality, coupled with the current favorable conditions of Cameroon’s cocoa sector, which has seen producer prices rising for months, is a result of the international market’s situation,” Minister Atangana stated. 

Global cocoa production for 2023-2024 is forecasted to decrease by 11 percent, leading to a market deficit of 374,000 tons by September 2024, according to the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO).  

This scenario has resulted in a surge in cocoa prices, with Cameroon’s cocoa being the best-performing agricultural commodity since the beginning of 2024, gaining 56.4 percent. 

“As of early February, the price of the benchmark cocoa contract for March delivery on the Intercontinental Exchange in New York broke the US$6000 barrier, reaching a daily high of $6929,” reported Ecofin Agency. 

Cameroonian producers are benefiting not only from the favorable international context but also from collective sales strategies, enhancing their bargaining power against buyers.  

This approach fosters competition among buyers, leading to increased remuneration for producers. The robust demand for Cameroon’s distinctive red-brown cocoa beans has further driven up prices during the 2023-2024 campaign. 

Moreover, the battle for control over the scarce beans has intensified between exporters, affiliated with major international traders, and local processors. The country has witnessed the establishment of three new local processing plants in less than three years, with combined capacities approaching 100,000 tons. 

Cameroon is the 4th largest cocoa producing country in the world and the 3rd largest in Africa with 290,000 MT in the latest cocoa season. The nation’s ambition is to lift this to 640,000 MT per year by 20302. Cocoa plays an important role in the country’s economy as it is the second largest export product. 

Liked this article? Subscribe to Food Business Africa News, our regular email newsletters with the latest news insights from Africa and the World’s food and agro industry. HERE