Cameroon, September 19, 2023 – The first auction sale of cocoa for the year 2023/2024 took place in the municipality of Mbangassina in the Center Region of Cameroon at a record price of 1,760 FCFA/KG, for a national average price estimated on this day at 1,600 FCFA/KG.
The Mayor of Mbangassina opened the auction with welcoming words that highlighted the partnership with IDH through the Green Commodity Landscape Program, the convening work that has led to the creation of the Union des Coopératives de Cacao Mbangassina (UCOM), and the signing of a PPI (Production, Protection and Inclusion) Compact in 2022, amongst other key contributions.
Prior to IDH’s initiative, cooperatives would enter fixed-price contracts individually with buyers, with no practice of group sales. The amount of cocoa marketed was restricted to just a few dozen tons, dependent on each cooperative’s capacity.
Now, under facilitation by IDH, cooperatives have shifted to collective sales with greater volumes, offering more flexibility and strength in negotiations.
UCOM consists of 17 cooperatives. During the 2022/2023 campaign, UCOM sold a total of 2,000 tons of cocoa at a price of 1,250 FCFA/KG, compared to the average national price of 1,000 FCFA/KG with the aim to increase the sale to 4000 tons in the 2023/2024 campaign.
It is to be noted that four buyers namely CCQ, SBET, TELCAR and OFI CAM took part of this first auction where UCOM have mobilized 105 tons of cocoa of a premium grade.
At the end of the auction, CCQ, a local trader, was the best bidder with an offer of 1760 FCFA/KG.
Impact of IDH support on UCOM Coops-Members
Facilitation by IDH has made it possible for UCOM Coops-Members to:
- Bring cooperatives into a single entity which allows them to have a stronger bargaining power. Selling in groups also facilitates product collection for buyers and better cocoa quality management.
- Build a mutual marketing calendar shared with all members, obtaining the highest selling prices, and increasing commercialized cocoa volumes.
- Stimulate healthier competition and greater transparency in marketing.
During the 2022/2023 campaign, UCOM received valuable support from IDH that went beyond enhancing their business practices. This included specialized training sessions provided by PAD Cacao, which led to significant improvements in cocoa quality. Additionally, measures were taken to prevent insect infestations, demonstrating a comprehensive approach to safeguarding cocoa production. These combined efforts reflect UCOM’s commitment to both the quality and sustainability of their cocoa output.
According to Joel Owana (IDH Program Manager – Landscape Africa):
Facilitation by IDH went beyond enhancing business practices, it positively impacted cocoa quality and provided a comprehensive approach to safeguarding cocoa production.
Looking ahead to 2023/2024
In the upcoming 2023/2024 cocoa season, our focus will be on enhancing the capabilities of UCOM members in sales, resource management, cash handling, fundamental accounting, and governance. Moving forward to 2024, our top priority will be aligning with the European Union Deforestation-Free Regulation (EUDR).
Another point on the agenda is to support UCOM in setting up saving schemes to enable the purchase of agricultural equipment and improve their access to other financial services.
Additionally, we underscore our commitment to supporting women affiliated with UCOM and their families. This support will manifest through the establishment of supplementary income-generating activities, such as cassava and corn cultivation, the harvesting of non-timber forest products, and the cultivation of fruit trees.
The UCOM case in the Center Region of Cameroon stands as a distinctive example of how convening a group of individuals with a shared interest is empowering and leads to a better income, which in turn positively impacts the environment.
The UCOM case in the Center Region of Cameroon is an example of how convening in a landscape can give power to a group of people with common interest which leads to a better income for a better environment.
– Joel Owana (IDH Program Manager – Landscape Africa)