In an effort to reignite the trade of one of the world’s most cherished commodities, Cameroon and Russia have teamed up to launch the Russian-Cameroonian coffee market exchange. This visionary move comes as a response to the disruption caused by the ongoing war in Ukraine, now entering its second year. The relaunch, which took place in September 2023, was graced by the presence of the Russian ambassador to Cameroon, Anatoly Bashkin, and Cameroon’s Minister of Commerce, Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana. In this article, we’ll explore this remarkable development and its potential to rejuvenate the global coffee market.
Years in the Making:
Minister Luc Magloire explained that this plan has been in the making for several years, originally slated to commence in 2017. However, progress had stalled since the inaugural Cameroon Economic Days, held from October 19 to 23, 2016, in Moscow. Now, the time is ripe to breathe new life into this initiative and pave the way for Cameroonian coffee to find its place on the Russian market.
A Platform for Coffee and Connection:
At its core, the coffee market exchange serves as a bridge, connecting Cameroonian coffee producers with eager Russian consumers. This endeavor aims to foster increased trade, enabling the people of Russia to savor the rich flavors of Cameroon’s coffee. Beyond trade, this exchange will also help promote Cameroon as an attractive destination for Russian investment, adding depth to the economic partnership.
Nurturing Economic Relations:
Minister Luc Magloire emphasized the importance of this trade relationship, noting that Russian coffee imports from Cameroon constitute a substantial 6-7% of the country’s total exports, amounting to approximately CFA96 billion (US$155.28 million). This mutual exchange is not only about economic value but also about the cultural exchange that occurs over a cup of coffee, bridging the gap between two nations through the joy of coffee.
Challenges and Triumphs:
However, in the wake of the Ukraine war’s outbreak in February 2022, Cameroon experienced a notable decline in its exports to Russia. In contrast, the country’s imports from Russia declined, and its exports have surged, growing by a remarkable 16 times in the past two years. Cameroon now seeks to leverage Russia’s vast population of 146 million as a pivotal market for its coffee exports, setting the stage for an exciting future in coffee trade.
Reviving the Cameroon Coffee Industry:
Cameroon’s coffee production has faced a series of challenges, leading to a decline in recent years. This drop can be attributed to factors such as diminishing yields due to aging coffee plantations, limited youth participation in farming, and farmers turning to alternative, more profitable land-use activities. According to data from the National Cocoa and Coffee Board (Oncc), in the 2020-2021 season, the volume of marketed production plummeted by 12,534 tonnes, reaching 12,157 tonnes, marking the lowest level in the last five seasons. Coffee exports also saw a decline in the 2021-2022 season, with 11,557 tons of coffee exported, including 10,579 tons of Robusta and 977 tons of Arabica.
The launch of the Russian-Cameroonian coffee market exchange signifies a momentous step in rekindling the coffee industry in Cameroon and restoring trade between nations. As these two countries come together to strengthen economic ties, they set the stage for a thriving future in coffee exports, while breathing new life into a cherished industry that holds the potential to benefit both the farmers of Cameroon and the coffee enthusiasts of Russia. Together, they are writing a new chapter in the global coffee story.
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