CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
In Cameroon, agriculture is important for achieving the development goals of alleviatingpoverty, employing more than 75% of the country agricultural workforce. Cocoa beans is one ofthe main cash crops in Cameroon amongst coffee, rubber, banana, cotton, tea, etc. According tothe UN Food and Agriculture Organization, Cameroon is the world’s fifth biggest cocoaproducer behind the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Indonesia, and Nigeria (UNFAO, 2018). According torecent government statistics, this marketable crop accounts for about half of the country's exportsof basic products, such as food, wood, fish, and minerals (CMR 2017).
With an average annual production of up than 300 000 tons (382 000 tons for cocoa productionin 2017; CMR,2017), cocoa beans sales contribute about 250 billion XAF ($426 million) eachyear. The cocoa sector in Cameroon also accounts for about 2% of the national GDP, 6% of theprimary GDP and about 30% of the GDP of agricultural products subsector for export andprocessing (Pierre E;2016). Cameroon's cocoa beans sector is largely dominated by exporters ofunfinished products, namely raw cocoa beans. The plant is commonly grown in South-west,North-West, littoral, West, East, and Central regions of the country.
Despite being the country’s main cocoa beans producers, cocoa beans producers in South-Westand Central regions in Cameroon are still struggling on how to improve Cocoa beans’ quality.The producers, despite having an increase in government investments that were directlycorrelated with the rise in cocoa beans in the recent years, have not been able to achieve theexpected results.
1.2. Statement of the Problem
Cameroon government intended to end the poor practices for drying method of cocoabeans. Experts in the industry have warned that, failure to respect good practices of drying cocoabeans, will not only lead to a low quality of cocoa beans, but will also lower the farmers’incomes as we know that the price paid for cocoa beans depends on quality of cocoa beans. Over6,000 farmers are involved in the cocoa and coffee industry which benefits about 6 millionpeople either directly or indirectly and represents 40 percent of Cameroon's exports in theprimary sector (GNA, 2013).
Cameroon cocoa beans suffers mainly from insufficient phytosanitary treatments, dryingand storage conditions that are often deficient and can have a significant impact on quality(moisture and diseases). Several measures had been taken by the authorities to alleviate thesequality defects.
Cameroon government had launched an awareness campaign mainly concerning cocoabeans drying stage, to inform farmers about a new way to dry their cocoa beans, the governmenteven created three centers to help farmers for drying their cocoa beans, is it enough? The answerwill be found below. Despite the initiatives taken by Cameroon government and other development actors, still adoption rate of MDS is minimal and the quality of cocoa beans needsto be improved.
Therefore, in this study, we assessed farmers’ knowledge of postharvest practices thatcontribute to the quality of cocoa beans; the factors that make difficult the adoption of a newtechnologies such as MDS and also, we assessed the advantages of the MDS and its impact onfarmer’s welfare.
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1. Smallholder practices
The purpose of drying is to stop the fermentation and to reduce the water content of thefermented beans. After fermentation, the beans are at a humidity of 55% and must be dried up to8% (merchantable cocoa bean water content) to ensure their good preservation and remove someof the acetic acid formed during fermentation (about 40%), ICCO, 2000. A bad drying lead tomoldy cocoa bean, therefore to the bad quality of coco bean. As Mention early, there are twotypes of d