The Cameroonian government is working on new regulations to combat the illegal exportation of cocoa beans out of the country.
Many observers believe the phenomenon has reached alarming levels because of the 10% exit tax recently imposed on exports. According to them, while the government only intended to promote local processing, the introduction of this additional levy may have encouraged dishonest exporters to find ways to bypass the law.
As part of its new sector control strategy, the government adopted last week a draft decree outlining the precise packaging and marketing regulations for beans. This was during a meeting with producers, exporters, and industry stakeholders. “We are adopting a more rigorous control approach for cocoa exports by land, sea, and air. This measure aims to curb fraudulent exits that cause significant losses to the national economy,” the Trade Ministry explained. The department revealed that during the 2022-23 campaign, the state lost about CFA70 billion due to fraudulent cocoa bean exports, mainly to Nigeria. This led Minister Luc Atangana to ban, as a precautionary measure and until further notice, exports of Cameroonian beans to Nigeria.
Let’s note that illegal exports to Nigeria have been ongoing for several years. Industry operators point out that this issue has become more pronounced since the outbreak of the crisis in the Anglophone regions, particularly in the Southwest, one of Cameroon’s major cocoa production areas.