Drought and deforestation have hit cocoa farmers hard in Cameroon. Growers in the Manyu Division of Cameroon’s Southwest Region are seeing their harvests dry up or be destroyed by brush fires.
Tanchenow Daniel fears he will lose more than half a tonne of his cocoa yield during harvest in the next few weeks. He usually harvests more than one and a half tonnes of cocoa.
Cocoa prices have fallen in August to just 1,000–1,200 CFA ($1.70–2.05 US) per kilogram, down from 1,700 CFA ($2.90 US) a kilogram in July.
Cameroon’s minister of trade is promoting co-operative unions as a way to help farmers adapt to the effects of climate change. The government distributes farm inputs such as pesticides and improved seeds to farmers through these co-operatives.
Patrick Esapa is president of the South West Farmers’ Cooperative. He says his group is advising farmers to take precautions against brush fires and to replant trees to shade their cocoa plants. He explains, “The sunshine this year was so wild that people who set fires on their farms ended up burning many other farms around them. We are reinforcing campaigns against brush fires.”
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Photo credit: Mbom Sixtus/IPS