Cameroon Red Cocoa Inches Closer to Labeling

As OAPI Awaits Coloration Analysis, Cameroon Red Cocoa Inches Closer to Labeling

Cameroon red cocoa, acknowledged as a geographical indication (GI) product in 2019, is advancing towards official labeling by the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI). 

In a recent international symposium on geographical indications in Africa, Michel Gonomy, Head of the Geographical Indications, Designs and Other Distinctive Signs Department at OAPI, unveiled pivotal steps towards this milestone. 

According to Michel Gonomy, extensive scientific research has pinpointed specific regions in Cameroon—Center, South, Southwest, and East—where the unique “red” cocoa flourishes, distinguishing it from its Northern counterparts. 

This recognition not only highlights Cameroon’s rich cocoa heritage but also presents a lucrative opportunity for local farmers and entrepreneurs. The Cameroon red cocoa’s designation as a geographical indication (GI) product adds another layer of significance.

Geographical Indication (GI) protection identifies a product as originating from a specific geographical area where certain qualities, reputation, or other characteristics of the product are essentially attributable to its geographical origin. 

In the case of Cameroon’s red cocoa, this designation underscores the unique attributes and quality associated with cocoa produced in the designated regions – Center, South, Southwest, and East.

One of the primary advantages for local farmers is the potential for increased revenue. By producing high-quality red cocoa, farmers can command premium prices in both domestic and international markets. This can significantly improve the livelihoods of cocoa-producing communities, contributing to poverty alleviation and economic development in rural areas.

According to Michel Gonomy, “Given this specificity and the cocoa’s reputation, developing a market study was necessary, revealing Cameroon’s red cocoa has strong revenue potential”. [Source: Business in Cameroon]

It is evident that this particular variety of cocoa holds significant promise for generating substantial income.

It should be noted that the National Committee for the Promotion and Coordination of Geographical Indications (CONAPIG) convened on May 26, 2023, chaired by Gabriel Mbairobe, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, to secure and label Cameroon’s red cocoa against counterfeiting.

Read Also: Exploring the Potential of Cocoa Business Ideas to Create Sustainable Income Streams

Investing in cocoa transformation presents entrepreneurs with a range of business opportunities. With the official labeling of Cameroon’s red cocoa, there is a growing demand for value-added cocoa products such as chocolate, cocoa butter, and cocoa powder. 

In addition to the efforts towards labeling Cameroon’s red cocoa, significant strides have been made in the promotion and protection of other local products under Geographical Indications (GI). This initiative mirrors the success of the Penja pepper and Oku white honey, both recognized GI products esteemed for their unique flavors and nutritive properties.

With 60 tonnes of Penja pepper already labeled, efforts are underway to promote this spice, including the acquisition of labeling and packaging equipment.

Similar measures are being taken to elevate the status of Oku white honey. Other local products such as shallots and onions from Lékié, and pineapples from Bafia, are also awaiting certification, highlighting the country’s commitment to protecting and promoting its rich agricultural heritage.

As for Cameroon’s red Cocoa, investors or entrepreneurs can capitalize on this demand by establishing cocoa processing facilities and creating innovative products for both local and export markets.

The labeling of Cameroon’s red cocoa enhances the country’s reputation as a producer of premium-quality cocoa. This can attract foreign investment and partnerships, leading to technology transfer, skills development, and market access for local farmers and entrepreneurs. Collaborations with international cocoa buyers and manufacturers can also open up new avenues for growth and expansion in the cocoa sector. 

Investing in cocoa and cocoa transformation offers numerous benefits for local farmers and entrepreneurs in Cameroon. From increased revenue and economic empowerment to opportunities for innovation and market expansion, the future looks promising for those involved in the cocoa value chain. 

As Cameroon moves closer to officially labeling its red cocoa, stakeholders are encouraged to seize these opportunities to get the full potential of this valuable commodity.

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