Sierra Leone ranks 3rd in organic cocoa export   

Sierra Leone has been rated third in the world in organic cocoa exporting by the European Union. This was revealed in the EU’s Agriculture Market Brief. In an interview with Awoko on Friday 26th June 2020, the Executive Chairman of the Produce Monitoring Board (PMB), Dr James Vibbi, said the ranking shows that Sierra Leone produce is one of the best in the globe, especially cocoa which was having problems accessing the European market. He said Sierra Leone cocoa was a ‘dumping produce’ that people used to fill the bags of Ghanaian cocoa. “Now that we have even gone ahead of Ghana and Ivory Coast it shows the kind of effort government has made and also President Bio’s vision to diversify the economy.”

Dr Vibbi maintained the ranking is a testament of the country’s move from an economy driven by mineral resources to one driven by agricultural produce. He said they are presently trying to popularise a special brand of coffee only found in Sierra Leone known as ‘tenofela’, which boasts one of the best flavors in the world. The PMB Executive Chair said they will not only try to mass produce this coffee but also push for the recognition of other local produce, including cashew.

The main importing EU member states in 2019 were the Netherland (receiving 98% of Sierra Leone cocoa beans), the United Kingdom and Germany.

 Country 2018 import 2019 import Change (%) Share 2019 (%)
Dominica Republic 27.1 24.2 -10.4 36.9
Peru 15.5 12.9 -17.0 19.6
Sierra Leone 7.7 11.2 45.4 17.0
Congo Democratic Republic of Congo 9.9 5.7 -42.4 8.6
Uganda 5.1 3.2 -36.3 4.9
Total 74.1 65.8 -11.3 100.0
Share as selected countries in 88 87    

Organic import volume of cocoa beans by exporting country, 2018 and 2019 in thousand metric tons

In the above table, Sierra Leone is rated 32nd in the world by the EU in the exporting of organic cocoa. Sierra Leone is the only country that experienced a positive change in percentage for organic cocoa export from 2018-2019; a 45.4% leap over 2018. All the other countries recorded negative percentage change. Head of the Produce Monitoring Board said with time they will push for more international recognition of all the major agricultural produce in the country, with the support of farmers and key sector stakeholders.

By Mohamed J. Bah