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(Société de développement du coton du Cameroun)

cotton boll

The SODECOTON is a parastatal organisation operating in North Cameroon. Its official task is to promote cotton cultivation among the peasants of North Cameroon, that is in the North and the Far-North Provinces. Beyond this technical crop promotion, the SODECOTON has a more general developmental policy, which is or was reflected in its involvement in integrated development projects such as the Sud-Est Bénoué project.

Since 1979, the SODECOTON has been engaged in setting up village producers' associations (AVPs), which are designed to collect the cotton produced in the village, and to organise the primary buying of the cotton. These were tasks that were formerly fulfilled by the buying teams of the SODECOTON, now villagers have taken over this responsibility. It was expected that this would limit the occurrence of fraud at the collecting stage and avoid conflicts between SODECOTON-officers and villagers selling their cotton. There are now more than 1,000 of these AVPs, on a total of 1,150 buying points (cotton villages). At present, more than 90% of all cotton produced in Cameroon is bought by the village associations.

Table 1: Basic Data on Cotton Cultivation in Cameroon

Year Cotton area
Seed cotton production
1985/86 89,232 115,544
1986/87 94,464 122,775
1987/88 94,744 113,699
1988/89 111,604 165,431
1989/90 89,004 103,877
1990/91 93,814 113,258
1991/92 89,848 114,363
1992/93 98,645 125,701
1993/94 102,939 126,462
1994/95 141,060 165,737
1995/96 159,000 195,000
1996/97 191,000 218,322
1997/98* 172,000 185,000
* Figures for 1997/98 are estimates

The raw cotton is processed in the SODECOTON-owned ginneries, which are located throughout the cotton producing region of North Cameroon. Most of the processed cotton fibre is exported to several European, Asian and American markets, only 7% is sold locally to the CI.CAM (Cotonnière industrielle du Cameroun) textile mill, for the production of African prints, and other cloths. As a secondary product, cotton seed oil is processed in two oil presses located in Garoua and Maroua, with a yearly production of approximately 12,000,000 litres (1993/94). Although facing tough competition from cheaper palm oil, cotton seed oil is highly appreciated in Cameroon as cooking oil.

Figure 1:

Number of AVPs in Cameroon


1981 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93

Links for more information on cotton:
CCIC Information on cotton (in English/French/Spanish)
Cotton on the Net
Cotton Outlook
National Cotton Council of America
Cotton Glossary (National Cotton Council of America)

"Paraquat, diuron et atrazine pour renouveler le désherbage chimique au Nord-Cameroun.", by J. Martin, L. Gaudard (CIRAD)
Les planteurs de coton en route vers l’indépendance (SYFIA-Cameroun)
Article in Le Messager on the privatisation of the SODECOTON
Info on the privatisation of the CIDT (Côte d'Ivoire)
"Le coton, moteur du développement", by M. Fichet. In le monde diplomatique (septembre 1998), on the cotton sector in Mali

visitors since February 9, 2000
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Copyright (this page) © 1997-1998, Frank Bessem. Latest update February 7, 2000.