YAOUNDE Cameroon's only cocoa grinder, Sic-Cacaos, bought 32,304 tonnes of beans during the full 2011-12 season which ended last month, figures issued by the National Cocoa and Coffee Board (NCCB) and confirmed by the company showed.
The figure compares to 30,514 tonnes bought by the company during the 2010-11 season.
"Our initial plan was to buy between 35,000 and 40,000 tonnes this year so as to keep some in stock for the 2012/13 season (...)," said a senior official of the company who asked not to be named. He attributed the lower purchases to a decline in mid-crop production in the world's No. 5 producer.
Cameroon cocoa exports during the 2011-12 season fell by 10 percent to just under 180,000 tonnes.
Sic-Cacaos, a subsidiary of Swiss Barry Callebaut based in Cameroon's economic capital Douala, sells cocoa products across West and Central Africa. In 2009, the firm upgraded its factory to raise processing capacity from 25,000 to 30,000 tonnes to meet ever-growing demand.
The company bought 1,275 tonnes and 2,562 tonnes of beans in June and July respectively, the last two months of the season, the NCCB data showed.