A Cameroonian coffee official is looking for American investors to help promote his country’s coffee in the United States. Mongwe Christopher Mbah is the general manager of the main cooperative coffee marketing organization in northwest Cameroon.
He was recently in Washington to meet US investors for a forum organized by the US Government. He says there are many reasons why Cameroonian coffee should be able to compete in the international market, “We have eight months in a year and that makes coffee grow up maturely; it is not rushed, “ he said. “And when coffee grows steadily and maturely it produces what is called the bold bean, which gives good flavor and aroma that people will require. On top of that our coffee is produced on a volcanic mountaintop where the soil is very good for coffee and we don’t need inputs like fertilizers and the like; we grow on natural soil.”
In addition, he says in Cameroon, farmers grow coffee in an ecologically friendly way – planted in between cola nuts and bananas, which provide shade for the coffee plants as well mulch for the crop. He says in his opinion, one of the best varieties is the Java species, which he compares to Jamaica’s Blue Mountain brand, which is popular in the international market.
Mongwe is also seeking American help with other issues that are preventing the development of Cameroon’s coffee crops. For example, he said that Cameroon lacks sufficient agricultural extension agents who can train coffee farmers in the latest growing or marketing techniques. Farmers also lack money for fertilizers, machinery and other things they need to grow and harvest their crops. In addition, he says there are not enough banks to provide agricultural credits to farmers.
Mongwe plans to return to the US in the coming months in an effort to meet more investors.