CAMEROON – Despite the introduction of a new player in the banana industry, Cameroon has experienced a 5.8% decline in exports in February 2024 compared to the same period last year.

Since June 2023, the country welcomed its fourth banana producer, Compagnie des bananes de Mondoni (CDBM), a subsidiary of the French Compagnie fruitière de Marseille.

According to data released by the Cameroon Banana Association (Assobacam), the total banana exports from Cameroon amounted to 15,248 tons in February 2024, marking a decrease of 937 tons from the previous year’s figure of 16,185 tons.

Despite high hopes pinned on the new entrant, CDBM, the company’s exports experienced a substantial decline, dropping from 946 tons in January 2024 to 592 tons in February 2024.

However, CDBM wasn’t the only producer to witness a decline in exports. Upper Penja Plantations (PHP), a significant player in the market, also faced a 7.2% decrease in exports, falling from 12,919 tons in February 2023 to 11,981 tons in February 2024.

Similarly, the Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC), a state-owned entity, saw a 12.9% decline in exports, from 2,169 tons to 1,890 tons in the same period.

Boh Plantations, another key player, experienced a staggering 28.4% decline, shipping only 785 tons compared to 1,097 tons in February 2023.

The reasons behind this widespread decline in exports remain unclear, with Assobacam refraining from offering an explanation.

Notably, this decline comes on the heels of a 25% increase in international sales recorded in January 2024 compared to the same period in 2023, challenging the assumption that drought might be the sole contributing factor.

Bananas, predominantly exported to European Union countries, stand among Cameroon’s top 10 non-oil exports.

To enhance revenue generation from this commodity, Cameroon aims to boost annual national production to 500,000 tons by 2030, as outlined in the National Development Strategy 2020-2030 (NDS 20-30).

As Cameroon navigates these challenges in its banana export sector, the industry remains a critical component of the country’s economic diversification strategy, with stakeholders eagerly seeking solutions to sustain and expand this vital market segment.

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