Cameroon cocoa prices steady after January export fall

Cameroon cocoa prices steady after January export fall

A fall in January exports meant cocoa prices remained steady in Cameroon, Africa’s fourth-largest cocoa producer, through mid-February after a slight rise last month.

Buyers paid between 1,475 CFA francs ($2.48) and 1,600 CFA francs per kg in the Centre region, while prices ranged between 1,200 CFA francs and 1,400 CFA francs in the South, Southwest and East regions.

Andre Belebenie, the national president of the cocoa and coffee producers of Cameroon, said a decline in exports in January could explain the prize freeze.

Exports fell from 38,748 tonnes in Dec. 2015 to 21,564 tonnes in January.

“With the buyers having slowed their activities for reasons we don’t understand, the price remains blocked,” said Belebenie, adding: “When there is activity, we sell to the highest bidder and farmgate prices climb.” Emmanuel Awaha Nkok, a cocoa farmer in the Centre region, said he believed the quality of beans and production, along with prices, would rise in the next few weeks.

The central African country’s Centre and South-West regions produce 40 percent each of its cocoa output, the South 15 percent and the East 5 percent. Cameroon’s cocoa season runs from Aug. 1 to July 1, with a main harvest cycle from October to January/February and a light crop harvest period from April/May to June/July.

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