COFFEE PRODUCTION HAS been suffering from a long-term decline in Cameroon. According to figures released on 4 April 2018 by Cameroon's National Cocoa and Coffee Board (NCCB), coffee production was 20,270 tonnes in the 2016-17 season, a decline of nearly 20% on the 24,500 tonnes produced in the 2015-16 season. This contrasts with exports of 156,000 tonnes of coffee in 1990.
In an effort to rejuvenate the industry, Cameroon's Cocoa and Coffee Inter-professional Council (CCIC) launched the New Generation programme in 2012. It seeks to attract younger people into coffee cultivation and renew the trees on the plantations to make them more productive.
In December 2017, an assessment of the programme showed that 95 young people had completed the process, planting a hectare of plants each. This year, the enrolment of 300 young people has been announced. For the chairman of the CCIC, Apollinaire Ngwe, the involvement of these young people in the reinvigoration of the industry is an absolute necessity: "Thanks to these young people and the availability of seeds, three years from now we will be able to raise production levels."
A promising trend
It was against this background that the sixth edition of the "Festival du Cafe" (Festicoffee) was held on 4 April. It was an opportunity for the minister of commerce, Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana, to talk with the producers and evaluate the progress made in the industry.
"The trend is promising", said Michael Ndoping, general manager of the NCCB, as did Joseph Mouen Bedimo, deputy general manager of the Agricultural Research Institute for Development and Omer Maledy, executive secretary of the CCIC. In support of their statements they mentioned the introduction of improved seed varieties made available to numerous coffee growers and...