Chede Cameroon

By Denise Nanni and Milena Rampoldi, ProMosaik. The next interview we would like to introduce you to today was conducted with Chede in Cameroon. Chede assists farmers in villages in Cameroon. Would like to thank Michael for this time and important information.
Can you tell me more about how Chede was founded and in which
The Chede Cooperative Union which currently assists village farmers to 
raise food and agricultural productivity, process, and market their 
production, originates from “the agric project” which was founded in 
1986 by local stakeholders to serve as an institutional and 
technological pilot for agricultural and community development in 
Muambong, an agrarian village community in Kupe Muanenguba division of 
Anglophone South West region of Cameroon (map attached). The project 
aimed to mitigate the financial losses and hardships suffered by village 
farmers as a result of the African and Cameroonian commodity and 
economic crises of the 1980s and 1990s and the attendant structural 
adjustment programmes administered by the world bank, international 
monetary fund, and major bilateral development partners – especially USA
and EU countries.
What kind of training and advices do you offer to farmers?
Chede’s training and advisory services to its member cooperatives, 
which group over 10’000 individual smallholders, consist of:

2.1 – technical capacity building, including agronomic principles of 
soil conservation, plant protection against pests and epidemics, seed 
science and technology, crop production, application of farm inputs, 
mechanized solutions where appropriate, etc.; and

2.2 – institutional capacity building, including, for our primary coops, 
issues of cooperative governance and management consistent with the 
national cooperative law and the requirement for regular general 
assembly and board meetings and proper documentation, share capital 
issues, cost and financial accounting guidelines; and for individual 
farmers, issues of transition from subsistence farming to commercial, 
contract-based production, managing a farm as a business enterprise with 
strategic and operating plans and budgets, accounting and audit systems 
to reduce risks of failure and enhance transparency and predictability 
of farm operations, etc.

What are the main challenges that farmers and agriculture face in

the challenges are many – as summarized in attached articles – “is the 
African farmer an endangered species?” and ” Cameroon coffee sector: 
value chain or broken chain”. for chide in particular we need strategic 
business partners willing to invest with us at production and food 
manufacturing/industry levels, and also facilitate profitable market 
openings for our products. we need expertise and partnerships at these 
three levels – agronomic, food processing and packaging, and 
distribution, as well as exports to the regional and global levels

What are the benefits of establishing a network among farmers?

this exists already through Chede Cooperative Union which is a federal 
or umbrella farmer organization at the service of over 10 village-based 
farmer cooperatives with an aggregate membership of over 10’000 
smallholders and more still signing up.

Do you cooperate with local authorities and institutions? if yes,

of course we do since we serve as the field operating arm of the 
Cameroon ministry of agriculture and rural development (minader), but 
our cooperation is hobbled by institutional bottlenecks caused mostly by 
the excessive centralization of government programmes and extension 
services targeted to village farmers, whereas Chede’s strategic focus is 
on village-oriented or village-sensitive development approaches that 
place the village farmer at the front and centre of national 
agricultural development strategies, which may be the case on paper but 
not in the actual implementation of such strategies. that’s the problem 
in Cameroon and many other African countries because of limited 
institutional space for local self-governments and community 

As priority, we need a partner of several for our robusta coffee 
(initially 500 tonnes per annum rising to 1000 tonnes over the next five 
years) and cocoa beans (1000 tonnes initially rising to 2000 tonnes over 
five years) with the option of local processing or value addition prior 
to exports.

We have other major projects in the pipeline with some European 
partners, especially the production and dissemination of improved seeds 
of food crops; and cassava value chain development from production to 
processing, packaging and marketing. other partners would be most 

The benefits of networking village smallholders within a federal 
cooperative farmer organization like Chede are multiple, including the 

1. aggregating and multiplying individual farmer capacities in several 
critical areas such as bargaining with government for provision of 
normative public goods and services – especially rural infrastructure 
including transport and communication systems – now mostly concentrated 
in urban and industrial economic centres, negotiating for government 
subsidies, or for improved quality and efficiency of national 
agricultural extension services and research outputs;

2. bargaining with banks for farm credits at affordable and reasonable 
interest rates and payment conditions for village smallholders;

3. bargaining with insurance companies for special policies tailored to 
village smallholders and their farming environment increasingly stressed 
by climate-change events, risks and other uncertainties;

4. negotiating with supplier companies for bulk acquisition of farm 
inputs, especially fertilizer;

5. undertaking systematic and large-scale pro-farmer advocacy 
activities, including publications and conferences, use of the mass 
media to advertise the crucial role of the village farmer in our 
nation-building process, or farmer produce promotional activities such 
as trade fairs and product exhibitions, which are all activities beyond 
the institutional and financial capacities of individual village 

6. identifying and formulating comprehensive and integrated projects, 
especially infrastructure, production, marketing, or quality 
certification projects, which target the needs of all or most 
smallholders of a given community, and where individual farmers very 
often lack state-of-the-art expertise needed to develop such projects on 
their own;

7. uniting village farmers under a single brand name such as Chede 
provides the additional advantage of easy brand marketing and 
recognition locally and globally, which helps with marketing, sales, and 
revenues for all farmers concerned.