Banana exports down in February as PHP slumps

Cameroonian banana exporters sold a total of 16,185 tons of fruits in February 2023, data from the banana association (Assobacam) showed.

Compared to the 16,525 tons sold over the same period last year, this makes a decline of 340 tons (-2%).

This slight decrease, Assobacam revealed, is mainly due to poor performance by PHP, the market leader. The company only shipped 12,919 tons of bananas in February 2023, against 14,209 tons in February 2022 (down 1,290 tons). The minor market player Boh Plantations also saw a slight decline of 75 tons, from 1,172 tons in February 2022 to 1,097 tons in February 2023. However, CDC achieved a good performance over the period, shipping a total of 2,169 tons; up 47% compared to 1,144 tons in February 2022.

CDC has thus maintained steady progress since January 2023, when its exports increased by 83% YoY. However, there is concern that the recent attack on the company’s employees could end this momentum.

Deadly attack

This separatist-claimed attack left five people dead and about forty injured and brought back fear into workers again. Separatist militants have also called for further attacks on the CDC, which could be a new obstacle to the company’s progress. CDC facilities and employees have been targeted by separatist militants since early 2017. Company equipment was set on fire, while employees encountered in the plantations were mutilated or killed. As of 2018, 12 out of 29 CDC sites were shut down, the national employers’ association Gicam reported.

According to CDC itself, some of these sites had become base camps for armed militias. This difficult situation officially caused the loss of 6,124 jobs out of the more than 22,000 the company had. CDC was also off the banana exporter roster between September 2018 and May 2020 (18 months), due to the cessation of production activities.

Brice R. Mbodiam

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