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SAILD campaigns for sustainable cocoa without deforestation in Cameroon

SAILD organized a civil society workshop on deforestation-free sustainable cocoa in Cameroon from May 16 to 17, 2024 in Yaounde.

Improving understanding and harmonizing the intervention of Cameroonian civil society on the themes of zero deforestation and sustainable cocoa, is the objective of this workshop held from May 16 to 17, 2024. Support Service for Local Development Initiatives  (SAILD), as a member of the Network for the Promotion of Agroecology in Cameroon (NEPAC), brought together some thirty civil society and producer organizations, divided into small working groups at the esplanade of the Franco Hotel in Yaounde.

Understand the sustainable cocoa process

The first day’s work, marked by detailed presentations, was aimed at better understanding and appropriating the sustainable cocoa process according to the European Regulation on Deforestation and Forest Degradation (RDUE). The standard, adopted by the European Union in 2023 and in force from December 31, 2024, prohibits the marketing in the EU of products that cause deforestation, including cocoa.

Gérardine Sonkoue Tchiadze, Executive Director of CONAPROCAM (Cameroon’s national confederation of cocoa producers) believes that this law should lead to the implementation of new purchasing procedures at producer level: “This new EU regulation certainly enables Cameroon to solve the problem of increasing yields on very small areas. But as growers’ representatives, we see it as a cumbersome process
to meet the requirements of this law, and we are therefore calling for concrete discussions on setting the cost of cocoa, and for the purchase price of cocoa on the world market to take into account the mechanisms required of us”, she declared.

Concrete actions and strategies

On the following day, the workshop put in place a number of concrete actions and strategies for involvement in the deforestation-free sustainable cocoa sector in Cameroon. As a result, small cocoa producers were given the opportunity to think about measures to support their development, in addition to lobbying decision-makers so that their voice can be heard.
be heard. “It’s a question of training and supporting small cocoa producers, because we need production that meets EU requirements. We have placed particular emphasis on promoting agroecological practices. In-depth work has been carried out on recognizing the status of producers and the land on which their plantations are located,” explains Marie Ba’ane, Director of the civil society organization APIFED (support for self-help and integration of men, women, young people and the unemployed). “We focused the discussions on certain measures to facilitate their access to information on the facilities that the State is setting up for the benefit of producers, motivation mechanisms such as premiums; on organic means of production, organic inputs, and agroecological techniques that exist in Cameroon and its partners”, she added.

Building on the reflections of this workshop for more concrete action will enable cocoa producers to meet the challenge of sustainable cocoa without deforestation in Cameroon.

machesharon1@gmail.com

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