Exigencies of Quality

Two major strides are being celebrated as the new cocoa season begins. In effect, statistics released during the launching of the season in Kekem on 10 August, indicate a 16.5% increase in marketable production and 3.3% rise in grindings. This performance tells of a serious bounce back compared to the past years. According to the statistics, marketable production rose to 292,471 metric tons from 251,151 metric tons the previous season. Annual exports on its part rose 2.2% to 201,849 metric tons compared to 197,537 metric tons the year before. The beans was exported to 14 different destinations, with Holland registering highest imports (65.7%), Indonesia (8.7%), Malaysia (7.2%) and China (6.1%). Industrial processing rose 3.3% to 62,341 tons. Sic-cacaos, the Cameroonian subsidiary of the Swiss company, Barry Callebaut, Neo Industry, Cameroon’s newly created privately owned processing firm, Chocolateries confiseries du Cameroun (Chococam) run by South African-based Tiger Brands, and Ferrero were the main processing industries. 
The good performance last season is attributed to a number of factors as explained by authorities of the Cocoa and Coffee Interprofessional Council (CICC). Some of these include: the launching of the New Generation Programme some years back which has so far produced palpable results with the training of over 2,000 entrepreneurs in good practices and the creation of about 6,000 new hectares of cocoa farms. The introduction of the premium prices for good quality cocoa by the Ministry of Trade is another trigger for an increase in the quality of Cameroon cocoa. If one could go by figures released during the launching of the new season, it would occur that the increase in exports tells of the zeal of foreign companies especially those involved in chocolate production to process Cameroon’s cocoa for consumption.  Local production remains extremely low even though there was a slight increase last season. Whereas increase in exports appears to be one of the best measuring rods for better quality, it is important to underscore the need to boost local processing. The effort seems to be there, but the results remain timid. The 3.3% increase in local grindings is realized by subsidiary companies. In other words, local processing is still in the hands of foreign companies whose interest is natural...



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