The Cameroon Banana Producers Association, popularly known by its French acronym, ASSOBACAM, says that banana exports rose by 10 per cent to15,641 tonnes in June, 2020 as against 14,205 during the same period in 2019.
This increase in production is against the backdrop of the COVID–19 pandemic which has had a huge negative impact on business and the separatist insurgency in the Southwest Region, where one of the main banana exporters, Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC), operates.
According to ASSOBACAM, the increase in export figures is occasioned by the return of the CDC on the export market after 19 months of absence due to a perturbation of operations in its plantations by the Anglophone insurgency in the Southwest Region where its plantations are based.
The separatist insurgency had forced the CDC to send some of its 22,000 workers on technical leave for over one year. Within the short time since its return to the export market, the CDC has already exported 301 tonnes of bananas.
However, the increase in exports is not due to the return of the CDC alone but also due to an increase in the tonnage of banana exported by the Societe des Plantations du Haut Penja (Upper Penja Plantations Company), the local subsidiary of the French Compagnie Fruitiere, a world leader in banana cultivation.
Production by the Societe des Plantations du Haut Penja saw a 931 tonne increase in exports from 13,021 tonnes in June, 2019 to 13,952 tonnes in June, 2020.
Another exporting company which saw an increase in its exports is Boh Plantations with its export tonnage rising from 1,184 in June, 2019 to 1,388 in June, 2020.
According to the National Institute of Statistics, banana exports in 2018 represented 1.7 per cent of Cameroon’s total exports. This is far behind the figure for petroleum exports which accounted for 46.6 per cent of total national exports, timber accounted for 15.6 per cent, cocoa 14.4 per cent, cotton six per cent and aluminium 3.7 per cent.