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Discover the cultural heritage of the many regions of Cameroon, as well as the traditions and way of life of its inhabitants.
The population of Cameroon is a mosaic of nearly 250 ethnic groups with customs that are reflected in their way of life.
Cultural tourism draws its richness from the diversity found in the art of living, traditional architecture, folklore, cuisine, as well as a rich colonial heritage consisting of monuments and remains to which must be added the French and English bilingualism.
Liberated for almost 15 years, the cocoa sector is experiencing an ups and downs evolution in spite of the hopes raised by the Ivorian crisis; it recorded a production surge from 120 000 to 190 000 t between 2000 and 2005, a figure that exceeds 230 000 t in 20166. A major rival of Cameroon for many decades, Côte d’Ivoire has seen its place in production cocoa plummet during its crisis years. It shows that Cameroon is today one of the largest producers of cocoa, occupying the fifth place in the world, despite the relatively poor performance of this sector. The Cameroonian market is dominated by three multinationals: Cargill, Barry Callebaut and Archer Daniels Midland. The first two have their treatment plant in the city of Douala. If Cameroonian cocoa has the advantage of being well suited to the manufacture of cocoa powder, which is in great demand worldwide, it nevertheless suffers from a discount on the market because of a quality considered sometimes insufficient. The first transformation of cocoa (bearing ¼ of the production) is ensured by Sic Cacaos and Chococam, having a very powerful tool, which produce the paste, the butter and the powder. Chococam is the leader in plate making and confectionery.
This crop supports 600,000 families, who are, however, very affected by the world price falls (-30% in 2017, almost half of the 2015 high) and the price paid to farmers, the latter having halved in 2017 compared to the best price of 2016.
The coffee sector is experiencing similar difficulties. In the 1970s, Cameroon produced 32,000 t of Arabica and 95,000 t of Robusta; production fell back to between 6,000 and 41,000 t respectively in 2005-2006. The government has undertaken to revitalize the management and marketing structures in this sector (Sodecao, ONCC). A development fund was created in 2006 to promote the sector. The latter is already functional.
The cotton sector, the only one not to be liberalized, is experiencing difficulties because of a continuous decline in production as well as prices on the international market. The 350,000 producers saw the purchase price fall from 195 to 175 Francs CFA from 2004-2005 to 2005-2006. At this price level, the producer tends to save on fertilizer, which has the consequence of not ensuring the quality of the yields. Production of 125,000 t of cotton fiber in 2004-2005 (from 200,000 t of locally processed seed cotton) fell to 113,000 t in 2005-2006.
Sodecoton, whose capital is nearly 60% owned by the State, buys all seed cotton production and markets it. It has an operating loss of several billion CFA Francs in 2005. Cameroon has committed to privatize it after the failures of the late 1990s. Cameroon has many spinning and weaving companies, such as the Cotonnière Industrial Institute of Cameroon (CICAM), specialized in the manufacture of local clothing in loincloths, but which have a very insufficient capacity given the raw material available as well as the demand for processed products which is growing every year. The end of the quotas and the import authorization of the thrift shop have dealt a blow to the garment industry, now overwhelmed by imports from Asia and Europe. The Cameroonian cotton market, which is not enviable, has recently suffered another blow with the loss of large quantities of Chadian cotton that went up in smoke at the port of Douala.
Sodecoton exports about 90% of the harvested cotton. This represents about 6% of Cameroon’s exports (22% of agricultural exports). However, more than at the national level, cotton plays a key role in rural communities in the northern part of the country, bringing with it resources, social well-being and political stability.
With 60,000 t of natural rubber production, this export sector generates more than 30 million euros a year. The rubber production in Cameroon comes mainly from the extraction of rubber latex from rubber. Revenue obviously benefited from the higher price of a barrel of oil, which still favors natural rubber over rubber. The three main producing companies are Hévécam (GMG Group of Singapore), CDC and Safacam (Bolloré Group).