Cameroon’s cocoa was the jewel in the crown at Expo Milan, after the Minister of Trade- H.E Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana, July 7th, 2015 led a powerful Cameroonian delegation to victory at the world’s biggest exhibition.
Celebrated under the theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life,” this Milan rendezvoushosted about 20 million visitors from around the globe. Cameroon participated in Expo Milan 2015 within the Cocoa Cluster, to celebrate the Country’s National Day, promote biodiversity and the rich cultural values and to flaunt the Made-in-Cameroon Label.
Like fellow producing heavyweights, Cameroon was lodged within the Cocoa Cluster alongside; Cote D’Ivoire, Gabon, Ghana and Sao Tome and Principe. Her stand displayed; drawings, icons and revealing images on the various stages in the cocoa value chain. It also featured bench-seating to be used by the audience during performances and these seats were also made available for visitors’ convenience throughout the day. Outside the Cameroon pavilion, there was a green area with tables and benches where visitors as well as passers-by, can take a quick break from exhibition-hopping. A variety of cocoa and confectionery products like chocolate, bearing the Made-in-Cameroon brand name were sampled. It was indeed, a rare opportunity for the world to ‘taste Cameroon’.
On the subject of promotion, The National Cocoa and Coffee Board (NCCB) through its department of Promotion and International Cooperation (DPCI) steered an intensive promotional campaign with a sole intension of amending the image of our cocoa in the world market. From broadcasting a documentary film situating and depicting Cameroon’s historic cocoa sector, to the distribution of fliers and other promotional tracks translated into three languages; English, French and Italian to guests.
Expo Milan also offered Cameroon, a greenlight to partake in the agricultural Business Forum that heldunder the banner of:Cocoa Cultivation; an Argument for Opportunities.Stressing on the suitability of the business climate, the head of the delegation, H.E Luc Luc Magloire MbargaAtangana, inspired Italian investors bylaying emphasis on the law of 18th April, 2013 with its fiscal exemption to encourage private investment in sectors deemed as priority by government.
Amongst the exhibitions offered by Cameroon’s National Ballet, was a crowd-pulling and consistent performances, depicting the rich cultures and traditions of Cameroon.
The Cameroonian team equally comprised; The Minister of Arts and Culture H.E Ama Tutu Muna, The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, H.E LazareEssimiMenyi, The General Manager of NCCB-Mr. Michael Ndoping, The Assistant General Manager of NCCB- El Hadj Nana Abdoulaye, The General Manager of SODECAO-Mr. Jerome Mvondo, The General Manager of Investment Promotion Agency(API)-Marthe Angeline Minja, The President of Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Craft(CCIIMA) -JanvierMonguiSossomba, The Director of External Trade atMincommerce–Mr. Joseph NdumbeMotomby, The Director of Promotional and International Cooperation at NCCB-MrWangbitchin Gilbert along with other high profile administrative authorities and economic operators.
Why Expo Milan 2015 was the perfect platform to tell the story of Cameroon Cocoa?
Cocoa is the most exported agricultural product in Cameroon and its impact on the Cameroon economy cannot be underrated. The cocoa producing giant has become a frequent participant at this world fair dubbed ‘Expo’. SinceExpo2000 in Hanover- Germany, Expo2008 Zaragoza and Expo 2010 in Shanghai, Cameroon has used this global showpiece to restore the image of all produce bearing her brand name- notably cocoa, to attract investors, maintain old ones and guarantee the sustainable market for the good of all and sundry in the cocoa and coffee value chains.
Being the first world fair to be focused entirely on food and drink; the cocoa and coffee sectors of Cameron stand a chance to showcase the intrinsic value of her produce.
Cocoa products bring countless benefits to the quality of life: from the food and confectionery industry to the pharmaceutical industry; from cosmetics to craftsmanship; from biofuel production to the use of left-overs as fertilizer. Therefore, a rendezvous at Expo Milan 2015 is a vital step to initiating an exchange of ideas among the key players of the world production, marketing and supply chains.
Expo Milan 2015 has registered 145 participating nations. The exposition officially began on May 1st, 2015 and continues until October 31st, 2015. According to organizers of Expo-Milan, more than 11 million tickets have sold already and a projected 20 million tickets will sell during the fair’s six month duration. This global showpiece includes 120 student ambassadors, speaking 28 languages, to help host the Fair by engaging visitors and ensuring inclusion of diverse populations.
It therefore offers a unique opportunity for Cameroon through the cocoa and coffee sectors to partake in global issues such as, sustainable food production.
By Ngoran Guilio