• back


    Case Study 2: Cameroon's Coffee Sector Export Strategy


    International Trade Forum - Issue 4/2009 

    © ITC 

    In 2003, the Government of Cameroon adopted its Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), setting out its macroeconomic, structural and social policies and programmes. Under the PRSP, the Government decided to focus on sustainable development of certain agricultural sectors including coffee, cocoa and cotton with a view to supporting economic growth in rural areas.

    Cameroon's once-flourishing coffee sector had been declining in production since 1979 and the international over-production crisis of 2001 had forced even more farmers out of business. The Government recognized, however, renewed potential in coffee and the Ministry of Commerce asked ITC to help it to develop a strategy to revitalize and boost the competitiveness of this sector of major importance to poor families.

    Financial support came from the European Commission (EC) under the European Union's All African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Agricultural Commodities Programme.

    To develop the strategy, ITC held a series of workshops in partnership with the National Coffee and Cocoa Board and the Coffee Inter-professional Board, which were attended by representatives of all industry stakeholders including researchers, microfinance institutions, factory owners, government representatives, farmers, project managers, producers, buyers, customs officials, professional organizations and exporters.

    The workshops engaged participants in dialogue to:

    • Analyse the opportunities, requirements and challenges of potential markets
    • Diagnose the capacity and performance constraints of each stage of the sector's value chain in relation to market and buyer requirements
    • Design and prioritize activities and policy change to improve business responses to market opportunities, including resource needs, progress and performance measures
    • Determine development opportunities and design projects with potential.

    Following the workshops, a working group was tasked with producing a development strategy for the coffee sector. The strategy was delivered following an intensive 11-month period of planning and was adopted by the Government in October 2009. It identified three key objectives:

    1. Augment the volume of production and improve the quality - by raising the level of expertise and facilities
    2. Streamline commercialization internally and provide training along the supply chain
    3. Develop new markets for competitive products.

    The immediate priorities of the strategy include organizing the activities and resources required to implement the strategy and monitor progress towards achieving strategic objectives. An action plan has been developed, with each working group member committed to carrying out specific tasks.

    Although a wide range of activities is planned under each objective, the immediate emphasis is on training and improving the quality and level of production. Training programmes are based on participatory identification of needs and cultivation materials. Technical assistance and management capacity building on the commercial aspects of the industry will also help strengthen producers' organizations.

    Engaging more women in the supply chain and extending the opportunities for the active presence of the whole family in different stages of the supply chain is also a major priority of the strategy.

    If implemented, the strategy could benefit more than 3 million people along the coffee production chain. The cost of implementation is estimated at US$ 10.3 million, which the Government is seeking from international donors. Both the EC and the World Bank have pledged to fund projects in this strategy.