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SOWEFCU GM Lobbies For Chocolate Company 

By Marceline Chick

The General Manager of the Southwest Famers’ Cooperative Union, SOWEFCU, Francis Forbi, has disclosed that they are setting strategies to transform cocoa beans into chocolate and other by-products for local consumption. Forbi was addressing the press on the occasion of their 2011 General Assembly that took place on August 4 in Kumba.

SOWEFCU Delegates after General Assembly

He said SOWEFCU has forwarded a project of chocolate and cocoa butter production company to Government, which he said would lead to an increase in cocoa production and subsequent rise in the price of cocoa in the country. Forbi added that besides the exportation of cocoa beans, producing quality chocolate, cocoa butter and other local products would also enable them export these products and attract foreign revenue.

The GM also said they would soon create market days for the purcahse of cocoa in order to have better prices, since the sector has been liberalised. He appealed that for sanity to be restored in the sector, the Minister for Trade should provide professional cards to local market centres and local marketing communities.

Earlier, SOWEFCU Board Chair, Bernard Betanga Nchonganyi, said the Southwest remains the highest producer of cocoa within the seven production basins of Cameroon. He said the contribution made by producers in the region has advanced the cocoa economy and that there is dire need to step up production and productivity.

Betanga attributed the increase in cocoa production in the region to Government’s provision of inputs through conventions with producer organisations. The Board Chair said the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has been providing them with inputs like sprayers, mist blowers and chemicals, which they in turn distribute to farmers through their various cooperatives.

He, however, pleaded with the Ministry to increase inputs in this sector since the Southwest alone produces 58 percent of cocoa in the national territory. Betanga also appealed to Government to elaborate the construction of ovens and warehouses through the Cocoa Development Fund, FODEC, to improve the quality and storage of cocoa.

While addressing delegates of the 25 affiliate cooperatives of SOWEFCU, the 1st Assistant Senior Divisional Officer for Meme, Cletus Asongwe Numfor, advised them to develop credible projects that Government can finance. He said if Cameroon shall be an emerging economy by 2035, agriculture would be one of the sectors to significantly advance growth.

Asongwe called on farmers in the region to group themselves into Common Initiative Groups, CIGs, to boost production and reap benefits from SOWEFCU. At the end of the assembly, the delegates adopted a calendar to reorganise the basic structures of their individual cooperatives to the apex of their mother union, SOWEFCU.

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