Year 12 | 28 January 2020 | TO ENTER | TO REGISTER

Expectations for Cameroon's cocoa and coffee sectors remain positive

Cameroon's coffee industry is also benefiting from extensive government support, as well as changing industry fundamentals

Our core view for Cameroon's agricultural sector envisages a return to positive growth for the country's cocoa industry in 2010/11; this follows the disappointing fall in output witnessed in 2009/10. Meanwhile, we continue to anticipate steady growth in output from Cameroon's coffee industry. Our long-term expectations for Cameroon's cocoa and coffee sectors remain positive; both sectors are benefiting from increased investment, improved industry fundamentals and better macroeconomic conditions. Meanwhile, despite its continued challenges, we are upbeat about sugar production in Cameroon, with strong growth in output reflecting the impact of industry reform and increased competition. Finally, the production of staple grains such as corn and sorghum is expected to experience steady growth and rising consumption demand over the next few years.

Key Industry Forecasts

- After falling by 3.5% year-on-year (y-o-y) in the 2009/10 crop year, we cautiously predict a return to positive cocoa production growth in 2010/11; we forecast a 3.6% rise in cocoa production, which will raise total output to almost 222,000 tonnes. The reasons for the disappointing fall in 2009/10 production levels are currently being investigated. Despite the fall in output, and our reduced forecast expectations going forward, we are optimistic that the industry will benefit in the long term from a combination of better crop management techniques and private and public sector investment.
- Our new sugar production forecast for Cameroon envisages a 9.1% y-o-y increase in production in 2010. Our higher estimate for the year reflects the incorporation of new historical data which shows stronger growth in 2008 and 2009. We now predict that sugar output will rise at an annual average rate of 12.2% over the forecast period (for a total increase of 77.7% in the five years to 2014). Our improved growth expectations reflect the increased investment in the sector, as well as growing competition.
- We have also raised our expectations for sugar consumption in Cameroon. Our new forecast envisages a 6.8% rise in demand for sugar in 2010; this is higher than the 4.3% rise in demand which was recorded in 2009. Our new long-term forecast predicts that sugar consumption will rise by 15.7% between 2009 and 2014.
- This quarter sees no further changes to our forecast for Cameroon's coffee industry. In 2010, we predict that coffee production in Cameroon will expand by a slightly lower 2.6% in 2010. However, in the five years to 2014, we anticipate robust growth with coffee production rising by 27.8%. The strong growth reflects changing industry fundamentals, as well as the impact of recent investment and innovation.
- Our new grains outlook for Cameroon incorporates new historical data which depicts an 8.6% yo- y rise in corn production in 2008/09. During that year, total output increased to 950,000 tonnes. We now believe that, although corn production in 2009/10 will remain high, at 928,000 tonnes, it will be down slightly compared to the previous year.

Industry Developments

In the twelve months ending July 2010, cocoa production in Cameroon fell by 3.5%, falling to just short of 198,000 tonnes. The disappointing fall in production followed three consecutive years of strong growth up to 2008/09. Cameroon's National Cocoa and Coffee Board (the NCCB) has announced that it is investigating reasons for the drop in production. Some reports have suggested the shortfall in cocoa production was due to some trees being rested. Other possible explanations include undeclared stocks by some operators or the fraudulent exportation of cocoa to other countries. It is also possible that the fall in output could be attributed to a cyclical plant recess after a very heavy production in the previous year.

Despite the poor performance of Cameroon's cocoa industry in 2009/10, BMI believes there are many reasons to be positive about the industry's long-term development. In recent years, Cameroon's cocoa industry has experienced rapid development and expansion on the back of substantial investment and domestic reform. Farmers have benefited from programmes to provide high-yielding seedlings for free or at subsidised rates, as well as subsidised access to inputs such as fertiliser and pesticides. Increased investment and ongoing reforms are expected to continue for the duration of our forecast period.

Cameroon's coffee industry is also benefiting from extensive government support, as well as changing industry fundamentals. The Cameroonian government set an annual production target of over 2mn bags of coffee per year by 2015. It has pledged to invest XAF25bn (US$51.3mn) in improving production, some of which will come from international donors. Some of the funds will go towards rehabilitating old plantations and subsidising high quality seedlings for smallholder farmers. Meanwhile, in order to introduce greater standardisation in the quality of coffee production, the government has begun establishing a number of state-run processing facilities. In July 2010, it was announced that the first of five processing stations had been built in the pilot phase of a World Bank-assisted project. The objective behind the new processing facilities is to ensure that only very high quality, specialty coffee is exported, which is able to meet the very demanding standards of consumers. The government believes that, by improving the standard and quality of Cameroonian coffee, farmers' incomes will be increased and industry output boosted.

by S. C.
04 october 2010, World News > Africa