Cameroon’s coffee gains popularity in the Maghreb and Eurozone

(Business in Cameroon) – Cameroon is still a small player in coffee production and marketing on the global market. Despite holding the 54th position worldwide in sales volume, with a market share peaking at a mere 0.1% between 2018 and 2022, Cameroonian coffee is highly sought after in certain countries, mainly Algeria, France, Belgium, and Portugal.

According to an official report from the Competitiveness Committee, a specialized body of the Ministry of Economy, these four countries alone absorbed 62.9% of Cameroon’s coffee exports in 2022. Algeria, officially the largest buyer, purchased 18.6% of shipments.

The second buyer, France, only bought 15.5% of the coffee produced in Cameroon in 2022, 3% less than Algeria and 1% more than Belgium (14.5%) and Portugal (14.3%).

Producer disinterest

Despite the interest it garners from certain consumers on the international market, the coffee sector in Cameroon has struggled to take off for decades. However, both the government and the Interprofessional Cocoa and Coffee Council (CICC) have implemented various stimulus packages. Industry players point to the dual challenges of producer disinterest due to low incomes and the detrimental impacts of climate change as the main causes of this situation within the sector.

For example, while Cameroon boasted a coffee production of 130,000 tons in the 1990s, the country recorded a marketed production of only 12,157 tons during the 2020-2021 season, down 50.7% compared to the previous season, according to data from the National Cocoa and Coffee Board (ONCC). Notably, the poor performance of the 2020-2021 season surpasses the 16,142 tons of the 2012-2013 season, which sector players described as “the worst in the last 50 years.”

This decline in coffee production in Cameroon is, however, in contrast to the dynamism observed in the processing sector. Unlike cocoa, which is processed by foreign multinationals, coffee roasting in Cameroon is the monopoly of nationals, who often win international awards for the quality of their products.

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