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Bad Roads Frustrate Cocoa Production 

By Maxcel Fokwen

The perennial problem of poor road networks, particularly in Ndian and Manyu Divisions of the Southwest Region, has been identified as a major hurdle in Cameroons’ drive to step-up its cocoa quality and production to 220.000 tons by 2020.

James Musima Lobe, representative of cocoa and coffee farmers in the Southwest, made the disclosure Wednesday, July 23, in Kumba, while addressing some 300 farmer groups and other stakeholders in the cocoa/coffee sector during a workshop organised to evaluate the 2013/2014 cocoa season by the National Cocoa and Coffee Inter-Professional Council, CICC.

According to the farmers’ representatives, the Southwest Region currently produces about 92.000 tons of cocoa, which represents 40 percent of the national production. 

The problem, Musima stated, remains the deplorable roads that have caused hundreds of farmers to sell their produce to neighbouring Nigeria, thereby depriving Cameroon of its real production capacity. Besides the problem of roads, Musima lamented the alarming phenomenon of fraudulent cocoa buyers, who reportedly flood the villages with faulty scales and exploit farmers of their produce.

Musima suggested that in order to have a better 2014/15 cocoa season, Government and partners should put in place guidelines that facilitate access to credit for farmers, harmonisation of trade modalities in the cocoa marketing chain, and sustained Government investments in the form of subsidies within the next six years.

On his part, the Technical Director of the CICC, Andre Marie Lema averred that, irrespective of the statutory world market cocoa price that has seen an increase in production, most famers and their families still live below standard. The CICC boss justified that it was on the basis of such challenges that the cocoa producers in the Region met to look into the prospects and challenges to improve on the quality and quantity of cocoa, alongside improve the living conditions of the farmers. On the challenges raised by the producers, Lema urged farmers to lobby the Government into solve the road situation, while the issue of faulty scales and abusive exploitation of farmers’ rights will be stamped out progressively.

Speaking to The Post at the close of the seminar, George Wamo Cornyu, president of MAIKAFCOOP, expressed delight on the debates carried out, hoping that the implementations will be effective.

Wamo regretted that, most youths in Cameroon have abandoned farming in quest of white collar jobs, whereas, organisations such as CCIC have put in place youth enhancement schemes to enable them excel in faming.

 Workshop participants resolved that, only licensed dealers will be allowed to buy the cocoa beans; chemicals in circulation must be approved by the Ministry of Agriculture and that cocoa quality control inspectors will be appointed at various buying centers.

 

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