Cooperative response to Cameroon’s capsid problem
Cameroon is one of the world’s largest cocoa producers. Like other West African countries, Cameroon is vulnerable to capsid bugs which feed on the young branches of cocoa trees and can cause significant crop damage.
Cocoa farmers in Cameroon have struggled for years to contain outbreaks of capsid bugs. Cocoa is a cash crop, so production losses can have devastating economic consequences for farmers and families that rely on the production and export of cocoa to global markets. Climate change and water scarcity are exacerbating the problem.
To assist cocoa farmers, the Cameroonian government provided equipment and tools to selected beneficiaries under the United Kingdom Trade Partnerships (UKTP) Programme in July 2022. The recipients included eight cocoa cooperatives and the Penja Pepper Association.
The Cameroonian Ministry of Economy, Planning and Regional Development (MINEPAT) and the UKTP Programme arranged a follow-up mission in February 2023. This mission saw first-hand how cooperation in the provision of new agricultural materials and equipment can fight capsid bugs.
The donation of fungicides, transport equipment and other supplies has improved farming efficiency and reduced labour intensity. It used to take two hours of labour to shield two hectares of cocoa from the insects. Now it can be done within 15 minutes.
The new transport equipment, together with training and capacity building provided by the UKTP Programme, has given Cameroon’s cocoa farmers new hope in the fight against capsids.
Theodore Akono, CEO of the SOCAPIM cooperative in central Cameroon, said: ‘The new equipment has considerably reduced the working time to deal with this capsid problem, which is the main obstacle to cocoa farming.’
‘Thanks to the training sessions provided by the UKTP Programme, farmers have regained their confidence,’ added Roger Nyadjou, president of the board of directors of the Coopérative des Hommes Honnêtes du Cameroun [the Honest Men’s Cooperative] in Loum.
‘There has been a substantial increase in the volume of production being commercialized, which is having a positive impact on the cooperative’s financial viability.’
About the project
The UK Trade Partnerships (UKTP) programme works with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries to increase exports from SME suppliers to the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU). The UKTP programme is funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is implemented by the International Trade Centre.