Cameroonian food processing company Scan to resume operations following tomato glut

CAMEROON – The government of Cameroon has announced that it plans to revive the food processing company, Société des conserveries alimentaires du Noun (Scan), to resume operations in a bid to curb the tomato glut in the country.

Sources close to the case state that Scan was closed due to financial losses resulting from the inability to operate full-time, owing to a lack of sufficient raw materials and high production costs.

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The relaunch of the company, which closed its doors in early 2000 after six 6 years of operations, falls within the framework of the government’s strategy to revive the tomato sector affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cameroon closed its boarders on March 17, 2020 to curb the spread of the virus and in turn restricted the exportation of tomatoes to neighbouring countries such as Nigeria, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, who purchase about 700,000 tons of the crop yearly.

According to the report by Business in Cameroon, the restriction in trade lead to the country having a high supply of tomatoes, forcing suppliers to sell the commodity at a lower price to avoid spoilage.

With the relaunch of Scan, the country will have a tomato canning plant that will process fresh tomatoes to prolong its shelf-line and add value to it.

Official statistics put tomato production in Cameroon at about 878,000 tonnes in 2019.

Last month the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development proposed a recovery plan worth FCFA 2 billion (US$3.6m) to revive the tomato sector in the country. The investment will be utilized to purchase inputs like fertilizers, seeds and pesticides.

In neighbouring Nigeria, one of Cameroon’s tomato markets, Spanish culinary products manufacturer GBfoods, inaugurated a N20 billion (US$51.9m) Tomato processing factory in Kebbi state, aimed to help the country achieve self-sufficiency in production of tomatoes and its related products.

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The N20 billion (US$51.9m) factory was established in partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Kebbi State Government and the Emirate of Yauri.

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