MINCOMMERCE chaired the handing over ceremony in Muyuka on Tuesday February 5.
Bafia, a major cocoa producing basin situated some 17 km from Muyuka in the South West region, is the first beneficiary of the Oven Rehabilitation Project masterminded by the Cocoa and Coffee Interprofessional Council (CCIC). A total of 44 repaired and operational ovens out of the 141 earmarked in the region for Owe, Bafia, Muyengue, Mautu, Kombone Mission and Ekombe to the tune of FCFA 100 million, have already been handed to the beneficiary cocoa farmers in Bafia, in a ceremony presided at by the Minister of Trade, Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana.
The Project initiated by CCIC falls within the framework of the "Campaign to promote good practices of cocoa drying", which is aimed at eliminating smoke contaminated cocoa beans and improving the quality of Cameroon's cocoa in the international market amongst others. According to CCIC officials, the ovens to be rehabilitated in the South West region were constructed in 2005 with financing from the European Union.
While handing over the restored ovens, Minister Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana enjoined beneficiaries to make good use of the gift. The refurbished ovens, the Minister recalled, are fallouts of the promise he made in Muyuka while launching the 2010-2011 cocoa season. The handing over of the 44 ovens in Bafia, he added, is the first step which will go a long way to improve the quality of cocoa produced in the South West. He intimated that with the entering into force of the EU regulation in new levels for Aromatic Polycyclic Hydrocarbon (APHs), the Ministry of Trade in collaboration with CCIC embarked on the awareness campaign for free APHs Cameroon cocoa.
As measures therefore, public authorities initiated strategies to prevent contamination of cocoa beans in connection with tar along the main roads and the repair of ovens. To this effect, the first round of tarpaulins procured by the CCIC was recently distributed to producers along the Obala-Tonga main road. The exercise will continue on other major highways in the days ahead while the government's programme to rehabilitate and build new drying equipments throughout the basin of South West and Mungo will be implemented before the start of the next cocoa season, a release from CCIC states.
The Mayor of Muyuka Council, Chief Johannes Mokoto Njie, on behalf of the farming population of Bafia, expressed gratitude to government and its partners adding that good quality cocoa will also mean improved living conditions of the population. One of the beneficiaries, Kaye Tami Isaac, sounded elated saying that the renovated oven has come to save him the stress of a broken oven he was using. To him, his annual production of ten tons of cocoa would henceforth be free from smoke.