Cocoa remains the most important agricultural product, representing about 25% of the total value of non-oil revenues (although crude oil and petroleum products are the main export sector). The crop is grown in 8 out of 10 regions in an area estimated to average 450,000 hectares. The cocoa sector has around 600,000 cocoa producers, and involves “a total population of 5 million people living directly or indirectly on the cocoa economy”. A national objective for Cameroon is to increase production of quality cocoa to 300,000 tonnes by the year 2015. As with all participating countries, cocoa in Cameroon suffers heavy attacks of black pod and insects (especially mirids) and the “uncontrolled use of fungicides and insecticides is a matter of great concern to the government”.
A national priority is therefore to ensure that the country complies with the European Union Regulation 149/2008/EEC on MRLs for pesticides in cocoa beans, in order to minimise the risk of rejection of cocoa that does not meet these limits. Furthermore, Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Warehousing Practices (GWP) are seen as important for marketing of quality cocoa, under the label "Cocoa Made in Cameroon". Among the major constraints in the cocoa sector in Cameroon to achieve this objective, one can mention illiteracy that prevents the farmers to read the labels attached to pesticide packages and the poor understanding by small retailers of critical information about active ingredients. This, in the past, has caused serious problems including, in some instances, human poisoning.Supporting material available to download: