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The cocoa beans unique to Cameroon will be the country’s third agricultural product to be recognized under the Protected Geographic Indication of the African Intellectual Property Organisation.
The certification process to get Cameroon’s red cocoa labelled under the Protected Geographic Indication of the African Intellectual Property Organisation (OAPI) has been launched. The initiation of the procedure to certify the country’s third agricultural product, after Oku white honey and Penja pepper, took place in Yaounde, Wednesday July 17. The launching ceremony was presided over by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development cum President of the National Committee for the Promotion and Coordination of Geographic Indications in Cameroon, Gabriel Mbairobe. A host of members of government marked present.
According to the Deputy Director General of OAPI, Jean-Baptiste N. Wago, the certification process is expected to last two years. It will mainly consist of delimiting production zones and organizing producers into organizations and common initiative groups.Wago also said a guideline will be put in place to ensure better post-harvest processing in order to ensure good quality of the red cocoa beans.
To Minister Mbairobe, Cameroon’s red cocoa is historic and reputable. “Its certification will boost rural development, secure better prices for farmers and enable them earn good income, thereby increasing their standards of living,” Mbairobe said. The Minister is optimistic that once the red cocoa is certified, it will cause urban-rural migration and the country’s development will have a big push from rural areas. A little over 17 per cent of Cameroon’s non-petroleum export comes from cocoa and about 800 families earn a living from the cultivation of the cash crop, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Many producers have welcomed the development. NdoyeNdoyeCyprien, a cocoa farmer in Ngomedzapin the Nyong&So’o Division, told Cameroon Tribune he is looking forward to specific training related to the production of red cocoa, especially post-harvest processing. “I can’t wait the expected increase in the price per kilogram of the red cocoa beans once its certified by OAPI,” NdoyeNdoye said.
Feasibility studies towards the certification of Cameroon Red Cocoa were launched in 2013 by the Ministry of Mines, Industries and Technological Development. The process is being supported by the French Development Agency (AFD) in Cameroon. Products under OAPI’s Protected Geographic Indication have specific qualities in relation to soil type, climate, amongst others.