The government of Cameroon has asked cocoa farmers to increase their production of cocoa, regardless of the steady decline of cocoa prices in local and global markets.
"The fall of prices paid for cocoa is just for now. Cameroon and the world need more cocoa beans. So, produce more quantities and better quality cocoa," Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana, the nation’s minister of trade, said to farmers while touring the big cocoa-growing Center region.
Atangana is urging farmers to still produce cocoa amid falling prices in a bid to get rid of fears that some farmers plan on destroying their cocoa farms – a recap of the times in the early 90s when falling prices prompted cocoa producers to go back to farming food crops or destroying their cocoa farms altogether.
According to farmers and traders, a kilo of cocoa beans, which was priced around 2.56 U.S. dollars or 1,500 Central African francs, now sells around 1.36 U.S dollars or 800 Central African francs.
The government of Cameroon’s worry is intensified due to the abandonment and the destruction of cocoa farms puts the third-largest African cocoa producer’s plan to double its yearly cocoa harvest by 2020 at risk of failure.
"But farmers are spending more, but benefiting very little to produce cocoa. If prices continue to fall, then we're placed in a dilemma," said Siegfried Momo Ousmanne a cocoa farmer in Bafia, one of the country's biggest areas of cocoa producers.