CAMEROON – In March 2024, Cameroon faced a substantial setback in its banana exports, witnessing a decline of 26% compared to the same period last year, with shipments totaling 14,208 tons.

This decline was notably driven by the market leader, Plantations du Haut Penja (PHP), whose exports plummeted by 35.4% year-on-year to 10,174 tons.

Data released by the Cameroon Banana Association (Assobacam) revealed that other major market players also experienced drops in their exports. Boh Plantations Plc saw a decrease of 17.5%, amounting to 788 tons, while Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC) experienced a slight 2% dip, totaling 2,475 tons.

Despite the entry of a fourth banana producer into the local market in June 2023, Compagnie des Bananes de Mondoni (CDBM), a subsidiary of Compagnie Fruitère de Marseille, exported 771 tons in March 2024, failing to uplift Cameroon’s overall export figures.

Although March 2024 marked the third-largest volume of exports for CDBM since its market debut, with 946 tons in January 2024 and 896 tons in December 2023, the overall trend continued to decline on a year-over-year basis.

Assobacam refrained from providing specific reasons for this sustained downturn, puzzling industry experts, especially considering that earlier mentions of drought conditions do not align with the current export figures.

Bananas, primarily targeted at European Union countries, hold a significant position among Cameroon’s top 10 non-petroleum exports.

In an endeavor to enhance revenue from this sector, the country aims to elevate annual national production to 500,000 tons by 2030, a notable increase from the current range of 210,000 to 240,000 tons.

This objective is outlined in the National Development Strategy 2020-2030 (SND 20-30), initiated by the government to fortify Cameroon’s export capacities, and foster economic growth.

The Cameroonian government has laid out plans to invest nearly half a billion FCFA in constructing four agricultural storage warehouses in the northern regions, with two of them designated for onions.

This initiative forms part of the second phase of the Support Project for Agricultural Value Chain Development (Padfa II), jointly funded by the government and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

Project coordinator Helène Misse Marigoh recently announced a tender notice for the selection of a consultant, shedding light on the endeavor.

Christian Kouebou, a post-harvest technology and nutrition specialist at IFAD, emphasized the objective of these facilities to aid cooperatives and vulnerable producer organizations in rural areas in preserving their food resources, particularly onions.

He highlighted the aim to equip communities with modernized facilities in an interview with Cameroon Tribune.

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