Cameroon – Agribusiness: Cocoa farmgate prices steady in April

Cocoa farmgate prices in Cameroon, the world’s fifth largest producer, were steady at lower levels in April, tracking futures markets in London and New York, farmers and exporters said on Friday. Expectations of bumper crops around the world have raised the prospect of a large global surplus this season and have sent world prices plummeting since last year.

Prices have plunged on the international market and (now)remain static,” said an official with the National Office
of Cocoa and Coffee (ONCC).

July London cocoa fell 19 pounds, or 1.3 percent, on Friday to 1,445 pounds a tonne, while New York cocoa fell
$20, or 1.1 percent, to $1,848 a tonne. In Cameroon, the global glut has translated into farmer prices that are in some cases less than half what they were at the same point last season. The low prices were aggravated by a long dry season that has lowered the quality of beans currently being harvested, said Ambe She Godlove, who farms in the southwestern Mamfe district.

With the poor harvest caused by the long dry season, it’s logical that the cocoa price is low in the Southwest,” he said. Prices ranged from around 700 CFA francs ($1.16) per kg in Mamfe and Konye to 950 CFA francs per kg in Bafia in the Centre region. The indicative price range for exporters in Douala was 900 to 960 CFA francs per kg, but exporters said in practice that level was impossible to pay.

“We can’t respect the ONCC’s price because we have fees to pay. What’s more, the roads are bad. So we can only pay 800 CFA francs,” said one exporter who asked not to be named.

Below are the average farmgate prices, in CFA francs per kg, recorded throughout the growing regions:

Region     District    Price per kg in     Price per kg in
                              March               April
 Southwest     Mamfe           700                 700
               Konye           720                 700
              Muyuka           750                 750
              Koumba           750                 750
  Centre     Mbalmayo          900                 900
               Emana           900                 900
               Bafia           950                 950
   South      Ebolowa          800                 850
            Sangmelima         800                 800
   East       Bertoua          800                 800
             Yokadouma         750                 750

($1 = 602.9200 CFA francs)


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