Banana is one of the perennial crops produced in Cameroon and it represents about 6 per cent of the agricultural gross domestic products (GDP). Mainly cultivated in the Moungo, Fako and Ocean Divisions, banana is today the third Cameroonian export product after crude oil and timber. In 2021 Cameroon exported 198,634 tons of bananas, according to data compiled by the Cameroon Banana Association (ASSOBACAM). The performance was up by 10,750 tons (+5.41 per cent) compared with the 187,884 tons of banana the country exported in 2020.
The improved performance of the sector in 2021 was attributed to efforts made by the Stateowned Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC), to stage a come back in the list of the country’s banana exporters in June 2020 after being forced by the socio-political crisis in the North West and South West Regions to stop operations in September 2018. During the period under review, CDC exported 16,779 tons of banana, 10,611 tons more than the 6,168 tons it exported in 2020. Plantations du Haut Penja (PHP), leader of the Cameroonian banana market and a subsidiary of French group Compagnie Fruitière de Marseille, exported 167,534 tons of the product in 2021, up by 772 tons compared with the 166,762 tons it exported in 2020. As for Boh Plantations (BPL), the third main banana exporter in Cameroon, it exported 14,321 tons of banana in 2021, down by 633 tons compared to the 14,954 tons it exported in 2020.
With sustained engagement by producers, the state and partners, there are good perspective for 2022. Banana producers in Cameroon sold a total of 22,604 tons on the international market in March 2022. According to the Cameroon Banana Association (ASSOBACAM), this volume is up by 2,420 tons (or nearly 12 per cent year on year), compared to the 20,184 tons exported in March 2021. It is also the best performance since the beginning of the year, after 18,394 tons in January 2022 and 16,525 tons in February. Cameroon Development Corporation whose activities were paralyzed by the Anglophone crisis with abandonment of plantations is gradually picking up. “With growing insecurity, attacks on workers, attacks on parking stations, work stopped for a certain duration which was too long to the extent that we lost plantations. Out of 3,715 hectares, we lost 3,300 hectares. That is enormous. We have succeeded to rehabilitate 414 hectares, we look forward to replant another 200 hectares and there is an idea for some joint venture with partners to see how we can accelerate the replanting schedule by getting them working with us on some special arrangement on 600 hectares,” CDC General Manager, Franklin Ngoni Njie told Cameroon Business Today in an interview last year. At the moment, the corporation has developed banana nurseries in a bid to replant and boost production. PHP on its parts has been improving on its irrigation system which has led to improved production. For example, ASSOBACAM data show that in March 2022 PHP exported 19,240 tons of bananas, up 2,372 tons from the 16,868 tons in March 2021. The company is the only producer of Fairtrade certified banana for now in Cameroon making her to enjoy high prices.
While producing are striving to red...