Coffee cultivation in Cameroon dates back to 1884 during the German colonial era. The Germans went up to open experimental gardens in Victoria, Ebolowa, Nkongsamba, and Dschang. Coffee cultivation later spread to Yokadouma, Abong-Mbang, Doumé, Lomié, and Akonolinga inland. The coffee plant found its way to the western region around 1927. By 1928, 200,000 coffee seedlings had been planted in Dschang.
Until 1929, the development of coffee in Cameroon was due to René COSTE, a French agricultural engineer who was appointed head of the Dschang agricultural station. In 1990 there was a high level of production, which led to a record export of 156,000 tonnes. Cameroon ranked 12th in the world. When production fell, this was attributed to government policies and the global economic crisis. The government has asked Brazilian experts to contribute to the proposed solution and has invested 750 million FCFA - about $ 1.5 million over a five-year period, as an aid package.
Coffee is grown in seven regions of Cameroon; West, northwest, coast, southwest, south, central and east regions. Bamileke and Bamaoun are the high plateau areas where the Arabica plantations are located. Robusta, a dominant crop in the country, is grown at medium altitudes in the western region and to some extent in Abang Mbang. Arabica and Robusta are partially processed in the country. Coffee production in Cameroon is the responsibility of the Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministries of Scientific Research and Innovation.
There are various projects in these ministries to increase coffee production. According to FAO statistics from the United Nations, coffee production in 2013 was 41,800 tons on an area of 212,000 hectares, with a yield rate of 1,972 hectares per hectare. In 2007/08, green coffee accounted for over 40% of total exports to Italy. Robusta has been exported to Belgium, Portugal, and France. During the same period, 70% of Arabica exports went to Germany. Arabica has also been exported to the USA, Italy, and Belgium.
As part of the coffee sector development strategy for 2010-2015, a production of 125,000 tons was targeted, including 25,000 tons of Arabica and 100,000 tons of Robusta. Exports should reach 80,000 tons (15,000 tons of Arabica and 65,000 tons of Robusta). Domestic consumption was measured at 10,000 tons of green coffee.
The sale of coffee in Cameroon is controlled by the National Council for Cocoa and Coffee, an autonomous governmental institution under the technical supervision of the Ministry of Commerce. Over the years, coffee sales fell sharply due to the liberalization of the sector in the early 1990s. In 2014, Cameroon traded 32,808 tonnes of its production. The most active coffee exporters in Cameroon include Olam-Cameroon Olam, UTI, UCCAO, NWCA, Hilltop Dynamics, Alpine Coffee Limited.
On September 30, 2014, the Cameroonian government validated and launched a new plan to revitalize the coffee sector to stimulate production. Robusta coffee at 120,000 tons and Arabica coffee at 35,000 tons by 2020. It was characterized by a 100% increase in coffee export taxes to finance the project.