Strengthening the technical capacities of coffee farmers on good agricultural practices in Cameroon

Project Focus: Technical capacity building in Cameroon

Estimated cost: 80.000 Euros




I.  Introduction

II.  Problem statement

III. Methodology                                                                                                                  

IV.  Assumptions

V1. Outcomes/results

V11. Modules

V11a. Production of clean planting materials                                                                      

V11b. Adaptive cultural systems                                                                                  

V11c. Improved agronomic and cropping systems

V11d. Harvest and post harvest practices to ensure quality

V111. Information on applicant organization



  1. Fiche technique et resume du project du café lave
  2. Attestation en faveur de Chede Cooperative Union Ltd
  3. Chede Cooperative Union Certificate


Table 1-     Project implementation time table

Table 2-     Logical framework

Table 3-    Budget


Cameroon’s strategic plan for the coffee sub-sector adopted in October 2008 aims to produce high quality coffees (Arabica and Robusta) for the international niche and specialty markets. To this end, the government launched in July 2010 a pilot project on the production of washed coffee using ecological pulping technology, with the financial support of the World Bank and European Union as well as the technical support of the Commonwealth Agricultural Bureaux International (CABI) and International Trade Centre (ITC), as explained in annex 1 to this study.  The Chede Cooperative Union (hereinafter referred to as Chede) is one of four farmer organizations in the country selected by the government to participate in the project’s pilot phase.

With the wide arbitrage (gap between London’s robusta and New York’s arabica markets), there appears to be a profitable opportunity in the market for improved robusta qualities which could be achieved with a modest investment, according to a study on the project by a World Bank consultant. As such it is expected that production of washed robusta coffees should open up new markets for Cameroon coffee, including access to a wide range of niche and specialty roasters.

The project additionally provides the opportunity of working alongside small-holders by planting the pulping machines or central processing units (CPU) in close proximity to their farms, thus facilitating the provision of farmer support services, including training modalities. The objective will be to improve quality and productivity by promoting farmers’ understanding and ownership of the new processing technology and of its demonstrated benefits. Much will therefore depend on how quickly the farmers start to implement improved agricultural practices to enhance quality and yields.

To that end, ITC, as technical and marketing partner to the washed coffee project, organized in January 2011 in Muambong a training of trainers workshop in cooperation with Chede on improved agricultural practices that farmers would need to put in place in order to derive maximum benefits from the new coffee processing technology. The workshop involved some 20 participants selected from Chede’s Producer Support Division (PSD) and the agricultural extension services of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MINADER). The rationale for the workshop was to train trainers who would in turn train the farmers – the ultimate beneficiaries of the project – in a series of farmer capacity building sessions on improved agronomic techniques in the context of the new coffee processing technology.

Accordingly, the technical capacity-building project set forth in the present document is a logical follow-up on the above-mentioned training of trainers workshop organized by ITC in January 2011. The objective is to enable the trainers thus trained to diffuse and embed as widely as possible within the coffee farming community of the South West region the new technological package acquired from that first workshop.


The Cameroon coffee sub sector continues to face the intertwined challenges of; declining coffee quality, lower world prices, low yields and poor agronomic practices, the effect of diseases, old age of many of  coffee trees and the lack of an effective extension system to reach the small-holders involved in coffee production.

Improved farming practices and post-harvest handling (for example avoiding drying coffee on the ground) which can significantly enhance quality of the coffee are lacking.

Much of the investment in the coffee sub-sector in the years since liberalization has been concentrated instead on export processing stage of the value chain. At which point, it is too late to have a major positive impact on productivity and quality which depend for the most part on sound farm husbandry and primary processing. The critical issue now facing coffee producers in Cameroon will be how to acquire the capacity to remain competitive on the global market. This will depend on two main factors:

(a)       Productivity: as coffee faces competition from food crops and bio-fuels for available land and other resources, and is further constrained by aging coffee farmers and youth exodus from the village hinterland, it becomes imperative to raise coffee farm productivity from the current average low of 500 kg/hectare in the South West region to at least 1500 kg/hectare, with the added advantage of reducing production costs as a result of higher yields per labour input and per hectare;

(b)       Quality: as the global market increasingly demands quality coffees, there is a pressing need to train and retrain the farmers on quality issues and to invest in innovative primary processing methods that have been tested successfully in other countries for their high quality results.

It seems therefore that solutions to the problems confronting the coffee sub-sector in Cameroon will have to be found at farm and primary processing levels. In this context, and pursuant to its new policy to revive the coffee sub-sector, the Cameroon government, with the support of the World Bank and European Union, launched in July 2010 a pilot project on the production of washed Arabica and Robusta coffees (annex 1). The project is deployed initially (in its 2011-2012 pilot phase) in four regions of the country and at sites known as centres of excellence for the valorization of coffee produced in Cameroon. Chede has been selected to manage the project’s centre in the South West Region, located in Muambong, Kupe Muanenguba Division (annex 2).


As an integral part of the pilot project, ITC organized in January 2011 in Muambong a workshop on the training of trainers in partnership with Chede on good agricultural practices for coffee farming in Cameroon. As a follow up to this workshop, Chede aims at further strengthening the capacities of its members (coffee farmers) in the South West region. To this end, the trained Chede staff together with the extension staff of MINADER will serve as resource persons for the workshops to be organized in those divisions of the South West region considered to be the main coffee producing zones. Training will be conducted in simple terms and in local languages when the need arises. The smallholders will be trained at all levels of the coffee production and processing chain. The training will focus on best agricultural practices designed to boost the quantity and quality of robusta coffee, and also the quality of the environment as the key to quality, productivity, profitability and sustainability and to meaningful change in the rural economy.


Chede intends to strengthen its activities beyond the project’s life span through;

  • The scaling up of washing stations in at least four new locations considered to be major production zones with or without joint venture investments with other stakeholders;
  • The organization of more training workshops beyond the pilot phase scheduled to end in 2012;
  • The forging of partnerships with other farmer groups producing coffee but not necessarily members of the Chede cooperative network (e.g. SOWEFCU coffee producing member groups);
  • Extension of washed coffee project activities to coffee growers in the Mungo Division of the littoral region.


At the end of their training, the farmers should be able to:

  • Understand the meaning of “Good Agricultural Practices”;
  • Appreciate the imperative of productivity and quality or “Quantitative performance and quality”
  • Make a participatory assessment and develop an adapted crop management system
  • Understand the principle of the interaction between the environment and the coffee production system as well as the need to preserve the environment in order to maintain long-term productivity;
  • The implications for the farmers of the washed coffee processing technology.