Finally, after launching the process four years ago, Nestlé Cameroon, subsidiary of the eponymous Swiss agrofood giant, has officially started selling, Jan. 29, 2015, its Nescafé drink made with Cameroonian coffee. Now, the firm wants to add Penja’s pepper to ingredients of its Maggi cube.
This will provide great opportunities to those producing this pepper which is labelled in Cameroon. Truly, Maggi cube alone it should be noted, represents 90% of production at Nestlé’s plant in Douala (the only one in Central Africa). Overall, the plant with all its products (Maggi cube, Nido sachets, Nescafé) generates CFA5 billions of revenues monthly, across all the six CEMAC States that are Cameroon, Gabon, Congo, Chad, Central African Republic and Equatorial Guinea.
The Penja project will however require a boost in the production of this spice which comes from Penja, in the coastal region of Cameroon. Indeed, about 70 tons of pepper are officially produced every year in Cameroon. Out of this volume, around 40 tons are produced by the Société des plantations du haut Penja (PHP) while the remaining 30 tons come from village farms. Due to the great local demand, barely 15 tons of Penja’s pepper are exported every year, despite a strong demand for the spice at the international level. Nestlé Cameroon’s drive to integrate more local products in its production chain falls in line with a project that aims to purchase about 75% of its plant’s input locally, sources at the firm revealed. This would result in cutting the firm’s imports by 70%.
In fact, presently, 84% of input used at Nestlé’s plant in Douala, as well as 59% of packaging used for conditioning the company’s products, are imported. The imports mostly comprise cassava starch (1,5001,800 tons per year, for CFA300 million) and cooking salt, which are both used to make Maggi cube. In regards to these two ingredients, Nestlé Cameroon plans to get 100% of the cooking salt it needs from two salt-producing firms based in Douala. It has already reached out to the two firms in this framework. As for the starch, it eyes the production of the Sangmélima cassava processing company (SOTRAMAS) which is yet to be commissioned, due to major structural and management challenges. SOTRAMAS, it should be noted, plans to process into starch, 120 tons of cassava, on a daily basis.