CAMEROON – Cameroon’s cocoa production has experienced an alarming decline of 11.2% YoY during the recently concluded 2022-2023 season, according to data released by the National Cocoa Coffee Council (ONCC).

The production figures, which totalled 262,112 tons of cocoa beans, down from 295,163 tons in the previous season, indicate a challenging year for the country’s cocoa sector.

The ONCC’s status report cited several factors contributing to the decrease in cocoa production. First, the vegetative rest period, a natural phenomenon in cocoa farming, played a role in the diminished output.

Moreover, the adverse effects of climate change disrupted farming activities, leading to lower yields.

Additionally, the security situation in the Northwest and Southwest production basins posed significant challenges, limiting access to farms and disrupting the supply chain.

Furthermore, the ONCC highlighted the rising cost of agricultural inputs, attributed to the conflict in Ukraine, as well as illegal and massive exports to neighboring Nigeria as significant factors hampering production.

The decline in production also coincided with a significant drop in cocoa exports.

During the 2022-2023 season, Cameroon exported 186,754 tons of cocoa beans, down from 228,920 tons in the previous campaign, representing an 18.4% decrease.

This downturn followed the implementation of the 2023 Finance Act, which introduced a 10% exit duty on the FOB value, equivalent to approximately US$0.27 per kilogram exported.

Despite the challenges, there were some positive developments in the cocoa sector. Local cocoa processors, including both industries and artisanal units, processed 89,204 tons of beans during the campaign, marking a 2.7% increase compared to the previous year.

This growth was attributed to the dynamic performance of existing industries and the entry of a new player, Africa Processing.

Producer prices also showed a positive trend, with the maximum price reaching US$ 2.6per kilogram, a 14.7% increase from the previous year. The minimum average price remained unchanged at US$1.35 per kilogram.

Ghana forecasts significant rise in 2023/2024 farm-gate cocoa prices

In a related development, the Ghana Civil-Society Cocoa Platform (GCCP) projected a substantial increase in farm-gate cocoa prices for the 2023/2024 cocoa season, anticipating cocoa farmers to receive no less than US$3,753.60 per tonne of cocoa beans.

The GCCP’s estimations took into account international market dynamics, high inflation, and other challenges faced by cocoa farmers.

The GCCP also raised concerns about cocoa smuggling to neighboring countries, such as Togo, where farmers were offered higher prices, leading to an outflow of cocoa beans from Ghana.

The organization urged Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire to work towards achieving parity in cocoa pricing across the sub-region to curb smuggling.

Additionally, the GCCP expressed worry over the sale of cocoa farms to illegal miners, emphasizing the need to make the cocoa sector more competitive and rewarding for farmers.

For all the latest food industry news from Africa and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel.